Pistorius likely to be found guilty of culpable homicide

2014-09-12 00:00

ALL indications are that Oscar Pistorius will today be found guilty on a charge of culpable homicide.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said that Pistorius had been negligent when he fired four shots through the toilet door.

“I am not persuaded that a reasonable person with his disability would have fired four shots into a small toilet cubicle,” she said, adding given the size of the toilet a reasonable person would have foreseen a person behind the door could be killed.

She said while Pistorius knew there was a person behind the door, he chose to use a firearm which he was trained to use.

Then she asked three questions:

1. Would a reasonable person in the same circumstance have foreseen that a person behind the door could be hit by the bullets and killed?

2. Would the reasonable person take steps against this probability?

3. Did the accused fail to take the steps a reasonable person would have taken?

She said the answer to all three these questions is yes.

“I am of the view that the accused acted too hastily and used excessive force. In the circumstances it is clear that his conduct was negligent.”

Johannesburg attorney Ulrich Roux said the test of culpable homicide however comprised negligence and unlawfulness. He said the judge had already found Pistorius was negligent and if she also finds his conduct was unlawful, she would find him guilty of culpable homicide.

Culpable homicide is a Schedule 1 crime, which means Pistorius may again be released on bail after the verdict.

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