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Old 12-09-14, 12:16   #5
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Update re: VIDEO/PhOtOs-State Appeals Pistorius Light Sentence>5 yrs

Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail Despite Judge Finding Him GUILTY of Culpable Homicide
-over the Shooting of his Lover Reeva Steenkamp

  • Paralympian faces up to 15 years in prison - but could also walk free
  • He was sensationally acquitted of two murder charges over shooting
  • But judge said runner was 'negligent' when he shot through toilet door
  • Prosecutors 'disappointed' by murder verdicts - and say they may appeal
  • Law experts question decision not to convict on a lesser murder charge
Daily Mail UK 12 September 2014

Shamed athlete Oscar Pistorius has been released on bail despite being found guilty of the manslaughter of his girlfriend.


Count 1: MURDER (pre-meditated and the lesser straight murder charges) or CULPABLE HOMICIDE of Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013.

VERDICT: NOT GUILTY of murder but GUILTY of culpable homicide

POSSIBLE SENTENCE: Up to 15 years in prison

Count 2: DISCHARGING A FIREARM IN PUBLIC. Pistorius accused of firing a bullet into the floor of Tasha’s restaurant, Johannesburg, on January 11, 2013.


POSSIBLE SENTENCE: Up to five years in prison

Count 3: DISCHARGING A FIREARM IN PUBLIC. Pistorius accused of firing a gun through the sunroof of a car he was travelling in with his girlfriend, Samantha Taylor, and Darren Fresco, a friend.


Count 4: ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF AMMUNITION. Pistorius had .38 calibre ammunition in his safe, and did not have a licence for a gun that takes this ammunition, or a permit for it.

Pistorius claims he was keeping it for his father, who declined to testify in support of him.


The Paralympian was granted an extension to his bail until his sentencing on October 13 despite claims by the prosecution that he might flee the country.

Earlier, he stood impassively in the dock, his hands folded in front of him, as the judge convicted him of culpable homicide after he shot Reeva Steenkamp dead at his home.
He could now face a prison term of up to 15 years, but equally may walk free from court with a suspended term when he is sentenced at a later date.

Judge Masipa told the hushed courtroom: 'Having regard to the totality of this evidence in this matter, the unanimous decision of this court is the following: on count one, murder... the accused found not guilty and is discharged.
'Instead he is found guilty of culpable homicide.'
Miss Steenkamp's father Barry leaned forward in his seat when the manslaughter verdict was read, while her mother, June, showed no reaction.
Meanwhile, members of Pistorius's family embraced the shamed athlete.

Scroll down for live stream of the verdict and videos

Convicted: Oscar Pistorius stands in the dock as the judge finds him guilty of manslaughter over the Valentine's Day shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Guilty: Pistorius could now face a prison term of up to 15 years, but equally may walk free from court with a suspended term when he is sentenced at a later date

Facing prison: The runner was also found guilty of firing a gun in a crowded restaurant, but acquitted of two other counts - of discharging a firearm through a car sunroof and illegally possessing ammunition

The runner was also found guilty of firing a gun in a crowded restaurant months before the shooting, but acquitted of two other counts - of discharging a firearm through a car sunroof and illegally possessing ammunition.
Yesterday, Pistorius broke down in tears as he was dramatically found not guilty of pre-meditated murder and a lesser murder charge.
Nathi Mncube, for the National Prosecuting Authority, said they were 'disappointed' Pistorius was convicted of only two charges.

He said prosecutors would decide whether to appeal after sentencing.

Speaking outside the court he said: 'We respect the judgment that has been delivered.
'We believed in this instance there was enough evidence to secure a conviction under pre-meditated murder.
'Of course we are disappointed. We are disappointed we did not secure a conviction under pre-meditated murder and also there was acquittal on the other two (gun) charges.
'The matter has not been concluded yet, we are still waiting for a sentence to be imposed.'

Strain: Reeva Steenkamp's mother June and father Barry react as the manslaughter verdict is delivered

Tense: Members of Reeva Steenkamp's family react as they listen to the judge's verdicts

Pistorius's father, Henke, listens impassively to the judge's verdicts at the end of the six-month trial

There for her brother: Pistorius's sister Aimee (centre) has appeared in court for much of the six-month trial

Judge Thokozile Masipa delivers her verdicts on a manslaughter charge and three firearms charges

Pistorius GUILTY of Reeva Steenkamp's manslaughter

He said it was too early to decide whether prosecutors would launch any appeal.
After the verdict, Pistorius sat with his sister Aimee on the wooden bench where he has spent most of his six-month murder trial.
She put an arm around his shoulders and spoke to him.

For the first time in the trial, Pistorius left by going down the stairs that led to the cells in the courthouse because his bail expired after his conviction.
Pistorius's lawyer, Brian Webber, said he had been taken to a 'holding position.'
Defense lawyer Barry Roux told the judge that Pistorius should stay free on bail until sentencing because he had complied with bail conditions imposed on him after he killed Steenkamp.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel, however, said Pistorius had more reason to flee because he had probably hoped for an acquittal during the trial.

'Now he knows for a fact that "I've been convicted of a serious offense and imprisonment is probable,"' Nel said.

The athlete, dubbed Blade Runner due to his prosthetic limbs, has always admitted he shot Miss Steenkamp, though he told police he simply mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.

But in clearing him of murder, judge Masipa had hinted the 27-year-old may be convicted of a lesser charge of culpable homicide after describing his actions as 'negligent' on the night she died.
Culpable homicide - the South African equivalent of manslaughter - carries up to 15 years in prison but has no minimum sentence and could see him given a suspended term.

She told the court in Pretoria, which included members of both the defendant's and the victim's families, that Pistorius acted 'hastily' with 'too much force' when he fired four bullets through his toilet door in the early hours of February 14 2013.

Pistorius was also described by the judge as a 'very poor witness' who 'lost his composure' during cross-examination.

Moral support: Pistorius chats to his uncle Arnold ahead of the verdicts at the High Court in Pretoria

Nervous wait: Oscar Pistorius arrives at court to hear whether he will be convicted of manslaughter over the shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after he was dramatically cleared of her murder

Worldwide attention: Surrounded by bodyguards, the sprinter pushed his way through the throng of media to get inside the Pretoria High Court ahead of his manslaughter verdict

Following Oscar Pistorius's conviction, prosecutors and his defense lawyers will have the chance to present witnesses in a separate sentencing hearing before Masipa decides if and how long Pistorius goes to prison.
In what amounts to a second trial, prosecutors could call members of Miss Steenkamp's family, maybe her mother and father, to testify for sentencing.
Defense lawyers might call psychiatrists to argue for a lighter sentence.
Culpable homicide carries a term of five years if a gun is used, but this can be increased or decreased depending on circumstances.
For example, the fact that Pistorius fired multiple times into a small space and didn't fire a warning shot first could count against him.
Yesterday, legal experts said the state could question the decision not to convict on the lesser murder charge that requires a different concept of intention - known as 'dolus eventualis' - which holds you responsible for the foreseeable consequences of your actions.

Judge Masipa said: 'Clearly he did not subjectively foresee this as a possibility that he would kill the person behind the door - let alone the deceased - as he thought she was in the bedroom.'

But Stephen Tuson, a law professor at Johannesburg's University of Witwatersrand, said the state would arguably be able to appeal on dolus eventualis (which is Latin for 'indirect intent').
'How can you shoot four bullets through a door and not foresee their death?', he told Bloomberg News.

Other South African leading legal experts also did not hold back on criticising the judge for leniency.

‘I’m shocked,’ criminal lawyer Martin Hood said. ‘I think she’s going to get quite a lot of criticism from the judiciary and the legal system.
‘This could really open the door to systematic abuse of our legal system by people who shoot their partners and claim self-defence.
'If someone can shoot in an irresponsible manner, and even in a negligent manner and not be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law, then it means that we are not able to use the law as a tool to address violent crime in this country.’

Crucial evidence: Judge Thokozile Masipa examines the bullet-riddled toilet door up close during expert forensics evidence being given at the Oscar Pistorius murder trial

The fatal shots: Four holes are seen on the toilet door from bullets fired by Pistorius, three of which hit Miss Steenkamp - in the arm, head and hip

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel – who had mauled Pistorius so viciously as he struggled in the witness box – was last night said to be waiting for Judge Masipa to hand down her final verdicts, before considering an appeal on her interpretation of the law.

Delivering her murder verdicts yesterday, judge Masipa criticised Pistorius's decision to reach for his 9mm pistol and fire it through the toilet cubicle in his home rather than raise the alarm or fire a warning shot.
She said: 'If the accused, for example, had awoken in the middle of the night and in darkness seen a silhouette by his bed and in a panic shot at that figure, only to find it was the deceased, his conduct would have been understandable and perhaps excusable.'

Scene of horror: This photograph shows the blood-soaked bathroom where Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the toilet cubicle (top)
-with his 9mm pistol (seen lying on a bathmat, right) and the blood-splattered cricket bat (bottom right) he used to break down the toilet door after killing her

A police photograph shows the gun used to kill Miss Steenkamp alongside a mobile phone and blood splatter

Grim: Another graphic image shows a pool of blood at the bottom of the staircase where Pistorius carried Miss Steenkamp after shooting her.
Blue arrows point to specks of blood on the wall and floor

She added: 'The accused had reasonable time to think, reflect and conduct himself.
'I'm not persuaded that a reasonable person with the same disability would have fired the four shots.
'The accused knew there was a person behind the toilet door, he chose to use a firearm.
'I am of the view the accused acted too hastily and used too much force. It is clear his conduct is negligent.'

Aftermath of the killing: This picture of Oscar Pistorius, bare-chested and covered in blood from the waist down,
-was taken by police shortly after the Paralympian shot Reeva Steenkamp at his home

Glamorous couple: Oscar Pistorius with Reeva Steenkamp at the Feather Awards in Johannesburg, South Africa, in November 2012, three months before he killed her

Her verdicts came after a long wait for a conclusion in the case, the defendant having shot his girlfriend some 18 months earlier.

Interest in the trial was intense, and a ruling that parts of it could be broadcast live on television added to the scrutiny.
It opened on March 3 with a witness describing how she heard 'bloodcurdling screams' on the night of the shooting.
But the case was riddled with delays and adjournments, including a lengthy break in proceedings while Pistorius’ mental state was assessed.

The prosecution, led by Gerrie Nel - nicknamed The Bulldog for his courtroom tenacity - sought to depict the star as having a short fuse and being obsessed with guns.
His defence team, headed by Barry Roux, presented a case that portrayed him as anxious about crime and claimed evidence at the crime scene was mishandled.

Pistorius’s reactions as the case against him was set out ranged from crying during evidence about texts they exchanged to vomiting at a description of her injuries.


March 3 - Oscar Pistorius pleads not guilty in court to murder and three gun charges.
Later, neighbour Michelle Burger, the first witness called by the prosecution, tells the court she heard 'blood-curdling' screams before the sound of four gunshots on the night the Olympian killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

March 5 - Prosecutor Gerrie Nel says neighbour Charl Johnson received texts and calls after his telephone number was read out in court the previous day.
He described one voicemail message as saying: 'Why are you lying in court? You know Oscar didn't kill Reeva. It's not cool.'

March 10 - Pistorius vomits repeatedly in the dock as he hears graphic details of the injuries sustained by the girlfriend he fatally shot.

March 11 - A witness describes how a 'furious' Pistorius fired a gun out of a car sunroof after being pulled over by police for speeding.

March 12 - Part of the crime scene is reconstructed in court as a forensic analyst demonstrates how Pistorius may have bashed a cricket bat on the door of his toilet to get to the girlfriend he had just fatally shot.

March 13 - Photographs of Pistorius's bloodstained prosthetics, the alleged murder weapon and of the crime scene are shown.

March 17 - The manager of a South African gun training academy says the athlete had 'a great love and enthusiasm' for firearms.

March 19 - A police ballistics expert claims Ms Steenkamp was standing in a toilet cubicle and facing the closed door when she was hit in the right hip by the first of four bullets fired by Pistorius.

March 24 - Text messages between Pistorius and Ms Steenkamp are read to the court.
In them she states she was sometimes scared of him and complained about what she described as his short temper and jealousy in the weeks before he killed her.

March 25 - The following day, defence lawyer Barry Roux notes that the messages were a tiny fraction of roughly 1,700 that police Captain Francois Moller, a mobile phone expert, extracted from the couples' devices.
Later that day, and in a rare comment, Pistorius says he is going through 'a tough time' as the prosecution case closes

March 28 - Judge Masipa delays proceedings until April 7 due to illness.

April 7 - The defence case opens. In a break from tradition, owing to illness, a pathologist is called as its first witness rather than the defendant.
When he takes to the stand later, an emotional Pistorius begins with an apology to Ms Steenkamp's family.
He says: 'There hasn't been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven't thought about your family.'

April 8 - Pistorius breaks down in tears and howls while describing how he shot girlfriend Ms Steenkamp, forcing the court to adjourn.

April 9 - Giving evidence for a third day, Pistorius tells how his girlfriend 'died while I was holding her', describing how he put his fingers in her mouth to try to help her breathe and put his hand on her hip to try to stop bleeding from one of several gunshot wounds.

April 9 - Mr Nel begins cross-examination, showing a photograph of Ms Steenkamp's bloodied head. He tells the defendant: 'It's time that you look at it.'

April 11 - Pistorius's first week giving evidence ends with a dramatic exchange between Pistorius and Mr Nel about the moments before the shots were fired.

April 14 - There is another adjournment in court as the Olympian breaks down again while giving evidence.

April 15 - Re-examined by his own counsel, Pistorius recalls how he was 'terrified' that the person in the bathroom was an intruder.
'I feared for my life. I was just scared,' he says. 'I was thinking about what could happen to me, to Reeva. I was just extremely fearful.'

April 16 - Judge Masipa announces the trial will adjourn until May 5, following a request for a break from Mr Nel.

May 5 - Upon resumption, Pistorius's neighbour, Johan Stander, describes how he received an urgent call to help following the incident.
He says: 'He (Pistorius) said on the call, 'Johan, please, please, please come to my house. Please. I shot Reeva. I thought she was an intruder. Please come quick'.

May 8 - A social worker who visited Pistorius in the aftermath of the killing describes the murder suspect as 'heartbroken'.
Yvette van Schalkwyk, who says she decided to give evidence at the trial because she was upset by suggestions reported in the media that Pistorius was feigning grief to sway the judge in his favour, adds: 'He cried 80% of the time.
'He talked to me about what they planned for the future, his future with her.'

May 9 - A ballistics expert says his analysis of the scene where the Olympic athlete shot Ms Steenkamp differs from the reconstruction of the shooting by police investigators.

May 12 - Mr Nel says the athlete should be placed under psychiatric observation after an expert called by the defence said Pistorius has an anxiety disorder.

May 14 - The much-delayed trial receives another set back, as the judge orders the athlete to undergo psychiatric tests.
The case is delayed until until June 30 while he is observed as an outpatient at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital.

May 26 - Pistorius arrives at the hospital for the first day of psychiatric tests.

June 30 - After a month-long break, the murder trial resumes when mental health experts state Pistorius was not suffering from a mental illness when he killed girlfriend Ms Steenkamp.

July 2 - Mr Roux reads a psychologist's report which concludes Pistorius is severely traumatised and will become an increasing suicide risk unless he continues to get mental health care.

July 7 - Mr Nel challenges the credibility of a doctor who testifies that the athlete has an anxious nature linked to his disability.

July 8 - The defence team closes its case and the trial is adjourned.

August 7 - After a lengthy adjournment, closing arguments begin.

August 8 - Judge Masipa announces she will deliver her verdict on September 11.

August 9 - Pistorius is cleared of two murder charges, but faced an agonising 24-hour wait to see if was guilty of manslaughter.
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