Oscar was negligent, used excessive force - judge

2014-09-11 14:46
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius was negligent when he fired four shots into a toilet cubicle that killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, Judge Thokozile Masipa said on Thursday.

"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."

A reasonable person would not have fired shots into the toilet cubicle, she said.

"I am not persuaded that a reasonable person... would have fired four shots into a toilet cubicle," she said in the North Gauteng High Court.

A reasonable person would have foreseen that the person inside the cubicle could have died.

"He chose to use a firearm," she said.

"I am of the view that the accused acted too hastily."


After saying this Masipa adjourned proceedings for the day.

Earlier there was a short delay in the start of proceedings after the lunch break.

Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux and prosecutor Gerrie Nel were seen leaving the courtroom and disappearing through the door to the judge's chambers.

Court resumed about 15 minutes later, but Masipa only spoke for several minutes more on negligence before she abruptly adjourned until Friday.

Masipa was due to rule on whether Pistorius was guilty of culpable homicide, which is defined as the unlawful killing of a person without an intention to kill.

Masipa said South Africans had experienced crime or the effects of it but had not resorted to sleeping with firearms under their pillows.

"The accused knew there was a person behind the door, he chose to use a firearm."

Masipa questioned if a reasonable person would have taken steps to guard against intruders.

Premeditated murder

Pistorius could not be found guilty of murder as the court found that the evidence with regard to the charge was "purely circumstantial".

"The accused therefore cannot be found guilty of murder dolus eventualis [legal intent]... that however is not the end of the matter as culpable homicide is a competent verdict," said Masipa.

"The State has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder. There are just not enough facts to support such a finding."

Pistorius, 27, said he thought an intruder was behind the door of the toilet in his Pretoria home when he shot through it. He fired four times killing Steenkamp on 14 February 2013.

The State argued the murder was premeditated.

Pistorius pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, and to three firearm-related charges.

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

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