Masipa: Reasonable person would not have shot 4 times

2014-09-11 17:42
Oscar Pistorius cries in the dock. (Phil Magakoe, AP, Pool)

Oscar Pistorius cries in the dock. (Phil Magakoe, AP, Pool)

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Pretoria - A reasonable person would not have fired four times into a toilet cubicle, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard during judgment in Oscar Pistorius's trial.

"I am not persuaded that a reasonable person with his disability would have fired four shots into a small toilet cubicle," Judge Thokozile Masipa read from her judgment.

Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on Valentine's Day last year. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to emerge and attack him. She was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Masipa agreed with the defence's submission that Pistorius's conduct could be better understood in the context of growing up in a society plagued by crime, and with a mother who was paranoid about crime.

"But that does not excuse the conduct of the accused," she said.

Pistorius had other means to deal with what he perceived as a threat.

When he heard his bedroom window slide open, leading him to believe an intruder was coming in, he could have called security or shouted for help from his bedroom balcony.

"There is no explanation why he did not do so before going into the bathroom with a loaded gun," she said.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel sat quietly in his chair listening to Masipa.

Had Pistorius woken up and seen a silhouette hovering next to his bed, he would have been justified in immediately reaching for his gun, Masipa said.

"The accused had reasonable time to think," she said.

She was dealing with the question of whether Pistorius was negligent in his conduct. The test for this is what a reasonable person in the same situation would have done.

Masipa adjourned proceedings at 14:30. Judgment would continue on Friday.

The Paralympian also faces three charges of contravening the Firearms Control Act - one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

On 30 September 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  thokozile masipa  |  crime  |  pistorius trial

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