Oscar Pistorius was today cleared of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot dead in his bathroom.
The Olympics blade runner broke down in tears as a South African Judge Thursday pronounced him not guilty of premeditated murder and the “dolus eventualis” murder of Steenkamp, as she said the prosecution failed to prove same to her ‘beyond every 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 he time he fired shots into the toilet door the deceased was in the bedroom while the intruders were in the toilet,” Judge Masipa ruled.
Pistorius however awaits a verdict on Friday on the culpable homicide charge (or the equivalent of manslaughter), with the Judge saying that he acted too hastily, used excessive force and was negligent when he fired the four shots that killed his girlfriend.
Judge Thokozile Masipa abruptly stopped the case today and said she would resume on Friday with the rest of her verdict.
The Judge found that Pistorius had not planned to or intentionally killed his girlfriend but that he had failed the test of the reasonable man and negligence. She is however yet to rule that it was culpable homicide, noting that Pistorius’ background and fear of violent crime did not excuse his conduct.
“Many people in this country have experienced crime or the effects thereof, directly or indirectly, at some time or another. Many have been victims of violent crime but they have not resorted to sleeping with firearms under their pillows,” Judge Masipa said.
“On the facts of this case I am not persuaded that a reasonable person with the accused’s disabilities in the same circumstances would have fired four shots into that small toilet cubicle … I am of the view that the accused acted too hastily and used excessive force … it is clear that his conduct was negligent.”