Reeva’s parents can still sue Pistorius for damages

2014-09-12 00:00

EVEN if Oscar Pistorius is found not guilty of murder, the parents of Reeva Steenkamp can still sue for damages against him.

Johannesburg attorney Ulrich Roux said the verdict in the criminal case would not hold any sway over the merits of a civil claim or the amount that can be claimed. “Even is he is acquitted on all charges, they can sue, for he admitted that he killed Reeva and her parents say she supported them financially. This is about a loss of income, not whether he is guilty or not.”

He said the O.J. Simpson case in the U.S. in 1994 saw the same process after he was acquitted in 1995 on charges that he had murdered his wife Nicole, and her friend Ron Goldman, but was sued by his wife’s family for loss of income.

The legal teams of Oscar Pistorius and the Steenkamp family have been negotiating for a while about a settlement for the loss of income.

Amounts of R2 and R3 million have been mentioned to the media, but advocate Dup de Bruyn, June and Barry Steenkamp’s legal representative, did not confirm any amount.

When De Bruyn was earlier asked about a civil claim he said this will only be finished after the criminal case.

Roux explained the burden of proof was totally different in a civil claim, where the state has to prove a charge beyond reasonable doubt, while a civil claim only has to prove probability.

De Bruyn said yesterday it would not be fitting to comment on the matter before the verdict was delivered.

“Even is he is acquitted on all charges, they can sue, for he admitted that he had killed Reeva and her parents say she supported them financially.”

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