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Thursday, 11 September 2014
UPDATE: Oscar Pistorius Found NOT GUILTY Of Murdering His Late Girlfriend Reeva SteenKamp
Oscar Pistorius was sensationally cleared today of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The Paralympian sat sobbing in the dock with tears streaming down his cheeks as the judge delivered her not guilty verdicts for murder and pre-meditated murder. Pistorius had been accused of deliberately shooting the 30-year-old model during a furious row at his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year.
But he had always maintained - often through wails of despair and vomiting - that he shot the law graduate in self-defence after mistaking her for an intruder. Judge Thokozile Masipa went on to address a lesser charge of culpable homicide - similar to manslaughter - saying the runner had been 'negligent' when he fired the fatal shots.
She told the court that Pistorius had acted 'hastily' and with 'too much force' but adjourned proceedings for the day before reaching a verdict. In coming to her decision on the murder charges, Judge Masipa earlier described the 27-year-old as a 'very poor' and 'evasive' witness.
But she said that did not mean the track star was necessarily guilty of the murder charges in a case she said was based entirely on circumstantial evidence.
'The state has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of pre-meditated murder,' Masipa told the Pretoria High Court.
'There are just not enough facts to support such a finding.'
She then proceeded to absolve Pistorius of the lesser charge of murder without pre-planning.
'Clearly he did not subjectively foresee this as a possibility that he would kill the person behind the door - let alone the deceased - as he thought she was in the bedroom,' she told the packed courtroom.
The judge said she believed accounts an emotional Pistorius gave to police at the scene in the moments after the shooting.
She said: 'Counsel for the defence correctly argued that it was highly improbable that the accused would have made this up so quickly and be consistent in his version, even at the bail application, before he had access to the police docket and before he was privy to the evidence on behalf of the state at the bail application.
'The question is, did the accused foresee the possibility of the resultant death, yet persisted in his deed reckless of whether death ensured or not?
'In the circumstances of this case, the answer has to be no.
'How could the accused reasonably have foreseen that the shot he fired would kill the deceased?
'Clearly he did not subjectively foresee this as a possibility that he would kill the person behind the door, let alone the deceased - as he thought she was in the bedroom at the time.'
Judge Masipa has yet to decide on a lesser charge of culpable homicide - similar to manslaughter.
At the start of the hearing, Pistorius appeared tense with a sick bucket by his side in the dock as Judge Masipa called Pretoria's High Court to order.
Early in her summary of the case, she dismissed a series of heated text messages between the couple which the prosecution claimed was evidence they were in a volatile relationship.