NewsSouthern AfricaOscar Pistorius is found guilty of murder


Posted on Thursday, 03 December 2015 13:12

Oscar Pistorius is found guilty of murder

By Crystal Orderson in Cape Town

South African Olympic star, Oscar Pistorius has been found guilty of murder. Photo©ReutersThe Supreme Court of Appeal has overturned Olympic star, Oscar Pistorius's culpable homicide conviction and has found him guilty of murder instead, a crime that carries a minimum 15-year sentence.

Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February 2013.

Initially, trial judge, Thokozile Masipa had sentenced Pistorius to five years imprisonment for culpable homicide, with the Blade Runner, as Pistorius is known, serving a fifth of it and being released on parole.

In a unanimous judgement by a full bench, the Supreme Court found that Masipa did not take into account the relevant circumstantial evidence.

Delivering the ruling, which was broadcast live on television and radio, Judge Leach ominously began by saying "this case involves a human tragedy of Shakespearean proportions".

"In firing the fatal shots, the accused must have seen that whoever was behind the door could die," the judge said. "In the interest of justice, culpable homicide must be set aside and replaced with the correct conviction." Leach said the trial court did not correctly conceive and apply the legal principles pertaining to circumstantial evidence

Reeva's mother, June Steenkamp sobbed as she was left the court, with members of the ruling ANC women's league comforting her outside the court in Bloemfontein. Barry Steenkamp, Reeva's father, told local media that "his family can hopefully get on with their lives now".

The Supreme Court of Appeal's ruling in favour of the State, means the case now goes back to the High Court for the judge to sentence Pistorius.

The National Prosecuting Authority welcomed the Supreme Court of Appeal's decision to change Pistorius's culpable homicide conviction to murder. "It affirms our contention that the trial court judge misdirected herself in her interpenetration in the application of the law," spokesperson, Luvuyo Mfaku told News24.

Pistorius was released into house arrest on October 20 after the parole board decided he should be released under correctional supervision.

Pistorius was convicted of shooting and killing his girlfriend, Reeva while she hid behind a bedroom door, but he insists he thought she was a burglar.

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