Oscar emotionless after verdict

2014-09-12 13:46
Oscar Pistorius listens as judgment is handed down in his murder trial. (Phill Magakoe/Independent Newspapers/ Pool)

Oscar Pistorius listens as judgment is handed down in his murder trial. (Phill Magakoe/Independent Newspapers/ Pool)

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Johannesburg - After a gruelling 43-day trial Paralympian Oscar Pistorius showed no emotion on Friday as Judge Thokozile Masipa found him guilty of culpable homicide.

"The unanimous decision of this court is the following... he is found guilty of culpable homicide," Masipa said in the High Court in Pretoria.

The 27-year-old athlete, wearing a dark suit and white shirt, stood staring straight ahead with his hands folded in front of him as Masipa read out her verdict.

Oscar's father, Henke Pistorius, wept and friends of the slain Reeva Steenkamp burst into tears.

Evidence before the court showed that he acted negligently when he fired into the toilet door, knowing there was someone behind the door, said Masipa.

"It cannot be said that the accused did not entertain a genuine belief that there was an intruder in the toilet who posed a threat to him...

"It could not be said that he foresaw that either the deceased or anyone else for that matter might be killed when he fired the shots at that door."

Masipa acquitted Pistorius of murder.

Pistorius's bail was extended following the verdict, this was despite the State opposing it.

He was expected to return to court on 13 October.

Masipa took a short adjournment just after her verdict.

During the break Pistorius's family seemed to be praying.

NPA disappointed

Pistorius, who shook and cried in court on Thursday, was accused of murdering Steenkamp, his girlfriend, 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.

Steenkamp's friends were not as composed as Pistorius on Friday following Masipa's verdict. They started crying.

However, her parents June and Barry Steenkamp, were stony faced.

Barry leaned forward and laced his fingers on the edge of the public gallery. Her mother June showed no emotion.

Reeva Steenkamp's uncle, Michael Steenkamp became emotional.

Her cousin Kim Martins was being consoled by her husband as she sat looking down.

Steenkamp's friend Gina Myers started crying and was consoled by her mother Desi and sister Kim.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it was disappointed by the ruling.

"At this point the matter is not concluded. We are still waiting for the sentence. It's only after the sentence that the NPA can weigh its options and see whether they can take the matter forward," NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube told reporters outside the court.

"We feel at this point we should respect the process that is still underway."

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

He was acquitted on charges of illegal possession of ammunition and one of the charges on the illegal discharge of a firearm in a public place.

But he was found guilty on the illegal discharge of a firearm in the Tashas restaurant in Melrose Arch last year January.

Witness Darren Fresco was weeping and wiping away tears with a pink tissue following the judge's verdict.

He had testified against Pistorius on the firearms-related charges. Fresco managed to avoid prosecution on the charges.

People began gathering outside the court building following the verdict.

For those gathered at the Dros restaurant outside court, silence reigned as the ruling was made.

A worker asked why everyone was silent, and whether it was disappointment. No one responded.

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

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