Thursday 11 September 2014

Pistorius cleared of murder

Pistorius cleared of murder, but still faces anxious wait

Pistorius set to learn his fate
Pistorius set to learn his fate

'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius has been cleared of the most serious charges of the pre-meditated murder and murder of Reeva Steenkamp.
However, he may still be found guilty of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, but will not learn his fate until tomorrow after the verdict was adjourned shortly after lunch.
The double-amputee Olympic sprinter was on trial from March 3 to August 8, charged with the premeditated murder of Steenkamp, 29, a model whom he shot and fatally wounded through the bathroom door of his Pretoria home in February 2013
"The state clearly has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder," Thokozile Masipa said, before dealing with the lesser charge of culpable homicide - also known as manslaughter.
Both defence and prosecution agree Pistorius killed the law graduate and model when he fired four shots through a locked toilet door in his upmarket Pretoria home.
Pistorius had grimaced and sniffled as he watched Masipa call Pretoria's High Court to order and read her verdict.
But the sprinter says he thought he was shooting at an intruder while Steenkamp was safely in bed.

The prosecution says he killed her in a fit of rage after an argument.
Judge Masipa moved quickly through her judgement, rejecting state evidence that pointed to an argument between the couple.
"Neither the evidence of the loving relationship or a relationship turned sour can assist this court to determine whether the accused had the requisite intention to kill the deceased," she said.
The judge also reviewed evidence by neighbours who testified of hearing shots and screams, saying many "had their facts wrong".
She said huge media coverage of the case could have affected some witnesses.
"I am of the view that they failed to separate what they knew personally or what they heard from other people or what they gathered from the media," she said.
But Masipa also said Pistorius himself was "evasive" on the stand, and that his evidence showed "a number of defences, or apparent defences".
"The accused was a very poor witness," she said.
The sentence for culpable homicide would depend on how callously or negligently Pistorius is deemed to have acted.
If Masipa accepts his argument that he fired in a state of panic, terrified that an intruder behind the door was threatening his life, he could even be acquitted.
The verdict is the climax of a six-month murder trial that has cast a harsh spotlight on the fallen hero's private life.
Full of high drama, the trial has fed intense media interest worldwide, with live broadcasts veering into the realm of TV reality shows.
During proceedings Pistorius has broken down, weeping and at times vomitted as he heard how the 29-year-old blonde's head "exploded" like a watermelon under the impact of his hollow-point bullets.
Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp in January, 2012. Photo: Getty Images
On Thursday, a man selling papers on a nearby street corner said he couldn't keep up with the demand. "Maybe you can come later," said Thomas Mdlule, the 29-year-old vendor, rushing to count out change for his customers.
Inside the court Pistorius's sister and the implacable mother of the woman he killed looked on from the packed public gallery.
June Steenkamp arrived to the courtroom early on Thursday, accepting a hug from a supporter wearing a "Imprison for Reeva" paper pinned to her shirt.
Gina Myers, a close personal friend to model Reeva Steenkamp at the indictment hearing for Oscar Pistorius. Photo: Getty Images

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