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The State takes Oscar Pistorius' case to the Supreme Court of Appeal

By Faeza
03 November 2015

Oscar Pistorius’s lawyer worked hard on Tuesday to convince the Supreme Court of Appeal that a trial court had not erred in analysing the intention behind the fatal shooting of Reeva Steenkamp.

Defence lawyer Barry Roux was grilled by Judge Eric Leach in a long exchange over the trial court’s application of dolus eventualis and whether the identity of the person behind the toilet door mattered.Roux said his client had fired four shots through his toilet door on Valentine’s Day two years ago because he genuinely believed his life was in danger and wanted to defend himself.

He said Pretoria High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa had made a factual finding of this belief and looked at the Paralympian’s state of mind. Leach, one of five judges, said he could still be found guilty of murder even if he had thought Steenkamp was in the bedroom at the time of the shooting.

“The issue was not then whether he knew Reeva was behind the door. The issue was that he knew a person was in the cubicle.” He noted that Pistorius had not known whether a 12-year-old child or a gun-wielding attacker had been in the cubicle when he fired bullets.

“Was there anything that showed, apart from noise, that his life was in danger?” Leach asked. Roux increasingly raised his voice, shuffled about and referred to bundles of notes. He conceded that Masipa may have made "factual errors". However, he refused to concede that her application of law had been wrong.