Former Olympic and Paralympic athlete, Oscar Pistorius, was yesterday found not guilty for the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year at their home in Pretoria.
The hearing which took place at the Pretorian High Court under Judge Thokozile Masipa, was held out for a tense few hours before delivering the eventual verdict that Pistorius’ intentions to kill Steenkamp could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
“The evidence before this court does not support the State’s contention that this was a case of dolus eventualis. On the contrary, the evidence shows that from the outset the accused believed that at the time he fired shots into the toilet door the deceased was in the bedroom while the intruders were on the toilet,” Judge Masipa stated.
Pistorius is still not off the hook, as it is unlikely he will be charged with culpable homicide (or manslaughter) – which there is no minimum sentence for – due to Judge Masipa ruling his actions as negligent.
“Many people in this country have experienced crime or the effects thereof, directly or indirectly, at some time or another… I am not persuaded that a reasonable person with the accused’s disabilities in the same circumstances would have fired four shots,” said Masipa.
Outside of the court, a group of protestors from the African National Congress Women’s League chanted in support of Steevkamp’s family, carrying banners depicting the words “If you kill a woman, you are killing a nation.”
Pistorius, whose trial began over six months ago, is also facing multiple charges for the possession of weapons and ammunition.