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Friday, 12 September 2014
UPDATE: Oscar Pistorius Found GUILTY Of Manslaughter... Justice Delivered
Worldwide attention: Surrounded by bodyguards, the sprinter pushed his way through the throng of media to get inside the Pretoria High Court ahead of his manslaughter verdict
Oscar Pistorius is facing jail after being found guilty of manslaughter over the Valentine's Day shooting of his girlfriend. The Paralympian stood impassively in the dock, his hands folded in front of him, as the judge convicted him of culpable homicide after he shot Reeva Steenkamp dead at his home.
He could now face a prison term of up to 15 years, but equally may walk free from court with a suspended term when he is sentenced at a later date. Judge Thokozile Masipa told the hushed courtroom: 'Having regard to the totality of this evidence in this matter, the unanimous decision of this court is the following: on count one, murder... the accused found not guilty and is discharged.
Convicted: Oscar Pistorius stands in the dock as the judge finds him guilty of manslaughter over the Valentine's Day shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
'Instead he is found guilty of culpable homicide.'
Miss Steenkamp's father Barry leaned forward in his seat when the manslaughter verdict was read, while her mother, June, showed no reaction.
Members of Pistorius's family embraced the shamed athlete.
Judge Thokozile Masipa begins delivering her verdicts on a manslaughter charge and three firearms charges
Count 1: MURDER (pre-meditated and the lesser straight murder charges) or CULPABLE HOMICIDE of Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013.VERDICT: NOT GUILTY of murder but GUILTY of culpable homicidePOSSIBLE SENTENCE: Up to 15 years in prisonCount 2:DISCHARGING A FIREARM IN PUBLIC. Pistorius accused of firing a bullet into the floor of Tasha’s restaurant, Johannesburg, on January 11, 2013.VERDICT: GUILTYPOSSIBLE SENTENCE: Up to five years in prisonCount 3:DISCHARGING A FIREARM IN PUBLIC. Pistorius accused of firing a gun through the sunroof of a car he was travelling in with his girlfriend, Samantha Taylor, and Darren Fresco, a friend.VERDICT: NOT GUILTYCount 4: ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF AMMUNITION. Pistorius had .38 calibre ammunition in his safe, and did not have a licence for a gun that takes this ammunition, or a permit for it.
Pistorius claims he was keeping it for his father, who declined to testify in support of him.VERDICT: NOT GUILTY
The athlete was also found guilty of negligently firing a gun in a crowded restaurant months before the shooting, but acquitted of two other counts of discharging a firearm through a car sunroof and illegally possessing ammunition.
Yesterday, Pistorius broke down in tears as he was dramatically found not guilty of pre-meditated murder and a lesser murder charge.
The athlete, dubbed Blade Runner due to his prosthetic limbs, has always admitted he shot Miss Steenkamp, though he told police he simply mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.
But in clearing him of murder, judge Masipa had hinted the 27-year-old may be convicted of a lesser charge of culpable homicide after describing his actions as 'negligent' on the night she died.
Culpable homicide - the South African equivalent of manslaughter - carries up to 15 years in prison but has no minimum sentence and could see him given a suspended term. She told the court in Pretoria, which included members of both the defendant's and the victim's families, that Pistorius acted 'hastily' with 'too much force' when he fired four bullets through his toilet door in the early hours of February 14 2013.
Pistorius was also described by the judge as a 'very poor witness' who 'lost his composure' during cross-examination.