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AbledNews Post Banner shows a photo of Oscar Pistorius standing in the High Court in Pretoria facing the camera with a gallery of spectators behind him. The text reads: The Trial of Oscar Pistorius: Was it Pre-Meditated Murder Or A Tragic Accident?
AbledPhoto shows The Defendant Oscar Pistorius winning a Paralympic race opn his carbon fibre prosthetic racing blades. His arms are spread wide as he crosses the finish line. he is wearing sport sunglasses and the reen and yellow track uniform of the South African team.
AbledNews Photo shows The Victim: Reeva Steenkamp wearing a tan leather jacket with her right arm resting on her crossed knee. She has long wavy blonde hair and a pretty face and is smiling at the camera.
AbledNews Photo shows The Trial Prosecutor: Gerrie Nel. He is photographed at a podium in Pretoria's Gauteng High Court and is wearing black legal robes. He has closely cut dark blond hair,is wearing glasses and has his right arm extending and is pointing with his index finger.
AbledNews Photo of Lead Defence Attorney Barry Roux who is also wearing black legal robes and gesturing with his right arm and index finger at the courtroom podium in Pretoria's High Court. He has salt and pepper hair with a high receding hairline.

Oscar Pistorius is a South African sprinter and Paralympic Champion who became the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics in 2012 after the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned an International Association of Athletic Foundations ban that had barred him from competitions because they felt his artificial legs gave him an unfair advantage over able-bodied competitors. Five days after the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, on February 19, 2013, during a hearing at the Magistrate Court in Pretoria, Pistorius admitted to unintentionally shooting Steenkamp at his home on Valentine’s Day 2013. He went on to state that he had mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder and shot her through a locked bathroom door in the home. Consequently, Pistorious faced a charge of premeditated murder that would result in a mandatory life sentence in the event that a guilty verdict was reached. Source: Biography.com

Reeva Steenkamp was a South African model and television personality who was shot and killed on February 14, 2013, by her boyfriend, Paralympian and Olympian Oscar Pistorius.

Synopsis

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, on August 19, 1983, Reeva Steenkamp began modeling when she was in her teens. Steenkamp was shot and killed on February 14, 2013, at the Pretoria, South Africa home of her boyfriend, paralympic and Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius. Pistorius later admitted to unintentionally shooting Steenkamp, and he now faces a charge of premeditated murder.

Early Life

Reeva Steenkamp was born in Cape Town, South Africa, on August 19, 1983, to Barry Steenkamp and his second wife, June. She moved with her family to Port Elizabeth as a child and began modeling when she was in her teens. Following her graduation from St. Dominic’s Priory High School in Port Elizabeth, Steenkamp earned a law degree from the nearby Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2005.

Commercial Success

Continuing to model throughout her teens and 20s, Reeva Steenkamp had become one of South Africa’s most sought-after models by the early 2000s, appearing in advertisements for Avon Cosmetics, Toyota, KFC, Cardinal Beer, Tiger Beer and various other mainstream brands, according to the website of talent management firm Capacity Relations. She was also twice named one of the “100 Sexiest Women in the World” by For Him Magazine and served as an ambassador for EVOX Nutrition. In 2012, Steenkamp was recruited as a celebrity contestant for season 5 of the reality show Tropika Island, filmed in Jamaica, on which contestants compete for a monetary prize of 1 million rand ($113,500).

Tragic Murder

Tragically, on February 14, 2013, Steenkamp was found dead at the Pretoria, South Africa home of her boyfriend, famed paralympic and Olympic star Oscar Pistorius, a double-amputee sprinter. According to police reports, Steenkamp was shot and killed on morning of Valentine’s Day 2013, with bullet wounds to the hip, head and one arm. Soon after her death was reported, it was announced that Pistorius was a suspect in Steenkamp’s murder. On February 19, 2013, during a hearing at the Magistrate Court in Pretoria, Pistorius admitted to shooting Steenkamp at his home five days earlier, but not intentionally. According to his testimony, he had mistaken her for a burglar and shot her through a bathroom door in his home. Pistorious is now facing a charge of premeditated murder and a maximum term of life in prison, if found guilty. The first episode (season 5) of Tropika Island, featuring Steenkamp, aired just days after the model’s death, on February 16, 2013. Source: Biography.com

South African Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius is on trial, accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp but he also faces three other charges.

Pre-meditated murder The prosecution says Mr Pistorius deliberately shot Ms Steenkamp in the early hours of 14 February 2013 – Valentine’s Day following an argument. He has pleaded not guilty, saying he heard a noise coming from the bathroom and went to investigate. Fearing there was an intruder, he went with a gun in his hand and then fired four rounds in quick succession after hearing a subsequent noise. He says he did not mean to pull the trigger. He also denies the couple had an argument that night. If convicted of pre-meditated murder, he could face life in prison.   Culpable homicide If he is acquitted of murder, under South African law, the judge must then consider whether he is guilty of the lesser charge of culpable homicide, or manslaughter. Mr Pistoruis has not been asked to plead on this charge but his statement that he did not mean to pull the trigger would imply a not-guilty plea. On this charge, the judge will need to assign a degree of negligence. The higher the negligence, the longer the prison term. If convicted on this charge, he could face up to 15 years.   Discharging firearms in public – two counts First count: He allegedly discharged a firearm at Tasha’s restaurant on 11 January 2013. The court heard that this happened at lunchtime, when more than 200 people were present, and children were near their table. The charge not only points to discharging a firearm in a public place but the reckless handling of the said firearm. Mr Pistorius blamed his friend Darren Fresco for passing him a loaded gun but he denies pulling the trigger. Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel said it must have been a “miracle”. Second count: He allegedly fired a gun through a car sunroof while with then girlfriend Samantha Taylor and friend Darren Fresco on 30 November 2012. He has admitted getting angry after a police officer inspected his gun which was lying on a car seat, when they were stopped for speeding. But he denies firing a gun, as alleged by both Ms Taylor and Mr Fresco. He could face five years in prison on each count.   Illegal possession of ammunition Mr Pistorius is charged with being in possession of .38 ammunition, which would be illegal because he does not have a licence for a gun that takes that ammunition, or a permit to be in possession of it or a dealer’s licence which would allow him to be in possession of the bullets. Mr Pistorius told the court the bullets belonged to his father and he had them for safe-keeping. Mr Nel says his father has refused to make a statement confirming this. The prescribed sentence on this count is 15 years in prison.   Source: BBC    

Oscar Pistorius has been found guilty of culpable homicide (similar to a manslaughter charge in other countries) in the shooting death of his former girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius, 27, admits firing the bullets that killed Steenkamp, but he says he mistakenly thought he was defending himself from an intruder. Prosecutors say the two had an argument and he deliberately murdered the model and law school graduate, who was 29.

Following closing arguments, Judge Thokozile Masipa and two court Assessors had to review an estimated 4,000 pages of the trial, before the judge delivered the verdict over two days – September 11 and 12.

Had the Judge not believed the athlete’s claim that he thought there was an intruder, she could have found him guilty of murder and sentenced him to a prison term ranging from 15 years to life. South Africa does not have the death penalty.

Masipa appeared to accept the claim that Pistorius did not know that Steenkamp was the person he was shooting at, but still found him to be negligent in firing the gun, and ruled him guilty of culpable homicide. She also found him guilty of negligence on one firearms charge that resulted from him firing a handgun under a table in a Johannesburg restaurant after the loaded weapon had been passed to him. She dismissed two other firearms charges for lack of evidence.

A verdict of culpable homicide leaves the sentence at Judge Masipa’s discretion, and it will be delivered October 13.

The athlete has been granted bail until the sentencing despite the claim of Prosecutor Gerrie Nel that Pistorius might seek to escape justice by killing himself or fleeing South Africa. He will be allowed to stay with his uncle, Arnold Pistorius.

AbledNews Post link banner headline shows a photo of Oscar Pistorius getting a hug from his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, before the verdict is read in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. They are both dressed in suits with ties Large red letters: 'The Sentence' are super-imposed over the photo. The headline reads: The Oscar Pistorius Trial: The Fallen Hero of Overcoming Disability Meets His Fate.
AbledNews photo of Judge Thokozile Masipa reads the verdict in the Oscar Pistorius trial.
AbledNews photo of Oscar Pistorius listening to the verdict being read in court. His brother Carl sits in a row in front of him in a wheelchair after being badly injured in a high speed car crash.
AbledNews photo shows the parents of victim Reeva Steenkamp sitting in the gallery in the courtroom.
AbledNews banner - The Trial Of Oscar Pistorius

South Africa’s ‘Trial of the Century’

The murder trial of Olympic & Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius is over and the verdict is in, but this isn’t the end of the story.

Was it murder or a tragic case of mistaken identity? Those were the lines drawn between the Prosecution and the Defence as South Africa’s Golden Boy of the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, double-amputee Oscar Pistorius, faced trial for murder in the death of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. Check here for the latest developments and share your opinion in our AbledPoll in the column to the right.

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Second Day Of Pre-Sentencing Hearing Brings Revelation Of ‘Blood Money’

AbledNews photo shows three separate photos of, from left to right, Barry Steenkamp pinching the top of his nose with his fingers as he listens to testimony; the second shows June Steenkamp outside the court looking to her left, and the last photo shows Oscaar Pistorius pinching the top of his nose between his eyes as his glasses ride up on his head in the courtroom.

Day 2 of the sentencing hearing for Oscar Pistorius heard a probation officer hired by the Defense reveal to the court that the Paralympian athlete had offered almost 370,000 South African Rand (US$ 33,367 | 21,000 GBP | 26,387 Euros)  as a lump-sum payment to the parents of Reeva Steenkamp as compensation for the death of their daughter.

Annete Vergeer told the court the financial gesture was an indication of Pistorius’ grave remorse for taking the model’s life. Steenkamp’s parents, relatives and friends shook their heads in disbelief when Vergeer also said that the double-amputee should not be imprisoned because prison would ‘break’ him and would be an ‘excessive punishment’ that puts the disabled Pistorius at risk for poor hygiene, AIDS and even gang rape.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel was quick to fire back that a lump-sum payment made possible by the sale of the athlete’s car had been immediately rejected by the family, with Reeva’s mother insisting they did not want ‘blood money’, and that monthly payments deposited into an account, after the Steenkamp’s lawyer told the Pistorius’ legal team they were struggling financially because Reeva had regularly sent them money, would be paid back. It totals about 105,576 South African Rand (US$ 9,528 | 6,000 GBP | 7,539 Euros)

The parent’s lawyer, Dup de Bruyn, said, “The Steenkamps don’t want any money and there will be no civil case; they want closure.”

We have a series of reports on the day from SABC Digital News:

Outrage Over Suggestion Oscar Pistorius Face Only House Arrest

AbledNews photo shows Oscar Pistorius sitting on the prisoner's bench in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria South Africa. He is dressed in a suit and tie and wearing glasses as he looks down at the smartphone he is browsing. The caption reads: Oscar Pistorius, described as a 'broken man' by psychologist, awaits the start of the hearing.

Rather than face a jail term for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a Correctional Services social worker, Joel Maringa, told a South African court today that Oscar Pistorius should be sentenced to ” three years of correctional supervision” – which amounts to partial house arrest – and community service, such as cleaning work at a museum in Pretoria.

The suggestion sent a shockwave through the gallery in the courtroom, which included the parents of the victim.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel called the recommendations “shockingly inappropriate”, describing them as “no sentence.” Nel, who was nicknamed ‘the pit bull’ during the lengthy murder trial, is pushing for a lengthy prison term for the disgraced Olympic and Paralympic athlete.

The sentencing hearing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on a charge of culpable homicide – the equivalent of a ‘manslaughter’ charge in the U.S. and Canada – also heard from a psychologist who described Pistorius as ” a broken man who has lost everything.”

Dr. Lore Hartzenberg told the court Pistorius had lost “his love relationship with Miss Steenkamp” as well as his “moral and professional reputation”, friends and “his career”.

On cross-examination, Prosecutor Nel asked her, “Would you not expect a broken family?”, pointing out that Steenkamp’s father, Barry, had suffered a stroke as the result of the killing of his daughter.

Judge Thokozile Masipa adjourned the court session early after Nel requested more time to review documents before calling at least two of the State’s witnesses on Tuesday.

A report on the day from South Africa’s SABC Digital News:

Abled Photo shows Oscar Pistorius outside the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on the second day of the verdict being read in his murder trial. He is wearing a white shirt and dark tie with the black chalk-striped suit and is surrounded by bodyguards. The caption reads: The legal drama of the Oscar Pistorius Case will drag on long after the Sentence.

Pistorius Murder Acquittal CAN Be Overturned;

Sentence CAN Be Increased;

Many U.S. viewers following the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius likely mistakenly thought that the so-called Blade Runner had successfully, and once and for all, dodged a murder verdict when Judge Thokozile Masipa found him not guilty of pre-meditated murder in the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp.

In the United States, his acquittal on the murder charge could not be appealed because of ‘double jeopardy’ laws. However, in South Africa, it can be.

Matthew Galluzzo is a criminal defense attorney with Galluzzo & Johnson LLP and a former Manhattan prosecutor in New York City. in 2012, he worked as a consultant in South Africa with their National Prosecuting Authority. He has also commented on the Oscar Pistorius Trial for the BBC, CNN, NBC, Arise TV and other media organizations.

Mr. Galluzzo, in the following commentary, which is also posted on his company’s blog, provides an insightful analysis of the verdict in the Pistorius trial and sets up what the next steps will be.

The Oscar Pistorius Verdict Analyzed and Next Steps

Over the course of two days (yesterday and today), Judge Masipa issued her verdict in the South African murder trial of former paralympian sprinter Oscar Pistorius. After a lengthy explanation of her factual findings and legal conclusions, she declared him not guilty of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, but convicted him of a lesser charge called culpable homicide. To begin to understand this verdict, we have to consider first South African trial procedural.

The verdict itself was delivered in a way unfamiliar to most American audiences. In the U.S., when a verdict is reached by a judge or jury in a criminal case, the verdict is simply read aloud by the judge or jury foreperson: “Guilty” or “Not Guilty.” These verdicts come without explanation.  Not so in South Africa; the judge reads aloud pages and pages of factual findings and conclusions about the evidence that was presented (with this process sometimes taking days) while the defendant agonizingly waits for the verdict at the end: guilty or not guilty.

Also, unlike in the United States, in South Africa, there are no jury trials (they were abolished in response to concerns that the country’s history of apartheid would often make fair jury trials nearly impossible). Thus, judges always decide the verdicts in criminal cases. (In the U.S., defendants can typically waive juries and request that their judges decide guilt or innocence in a similar fashion).

In South Africa, every criminal case has two issues to be decided: the facts (i.e. what happened) and the legal conclusions to be drawn from those facts (i.e. based on these facts, what, if anything, is the accused guilty of doing). The judge is responsible for deciding both aspects, and, unlike in the United States, has to explain in writing the reasons for the conclusions. Notably, however, in this case Judge Masipa exercised her right to appoint two assessors to help her decide the facts. Those two assessors sat next to her throughout the trial, and together, they arrived at the factual conclusions. Interestingly, it is quite possible that the two assessors could have collectively overruled the judge’s determinations as to the facts, as they are essentially determined by majority vote in these situations. Thus, the factual conclusions recited by the judge during the delivering of the verdict might not have actually been her own personal conclusions (though it sounded as if they were from the way that she was speaking about them).

Once the factual determinations have been made, the  judge is sole arbiter of the legal conclusions to be drawn from the facts. Thus, although the factual findings were collectively decided by the assessors and her, the ultimate verdict in Pistorius’ case was Judge Masipa’s alone.

The factual conclusions are too numerous to list in detail here, but essentially, Judge Masipa acquitted him of the most serious charge by ruling that Pistorius did not intentionally kill his girlfriend. A conviction for that charge would have carried a life sentence (though life sentences are effectively reduced to 25 years in their system). However, she instead concluded that he was “negligent” in the manner in which he had fired his firearm, and that said negligence resulted in Steenkamp’s death. As a result, he was found guilty of culpable homicide, a lesser charge that carries a potential maximum sentence of 15 years and no minimum sentence (meaning that he could conceivably receive a sentence of no jail).

Pistorius has already posted bail pending sentence, meaning that he is still physically at liberty (somewhat) until his sentencing hearing. At that time, all parties (the prosecution, the defense, and the victim) will have the opportunity to be heard as to the appropriate sentence for Mr. Pistorius. Judge Masipa will then be responsible for deciding his sentence. However, even assuming that he is sentenced to a prison term at that time, Mr. Pistorius most likely will be allowed to remain at liberty on bail until he has exhausted his appeals. The appellate process can last years, and unless and until his appeal has been decided in a manner unfavorable to Pistorius, he probably will not actually start to serve his prison sentence.

Notably, in contrast to the American system of appeals, a sentence could actually be INCREASED ON APPEAL.

That doesn’t happen in the U.S., but an appeals court in South Africa can raise sentences that they determine to have been inappropriately low. Thus, I do not expect Judge Masipa to give Pistorius a sentence without prison, as such a sentence would almost certainly be criticized and increased on appeal after a public outrage.

Also, of particular note here, is the fact that the State (prosecution) might actually be able to get Pistorius’ acquittal for murder OVERTURNED ON APPEAL. Americans may assume that this is impossible because of our system’s double jeopardy rules, but in fact, appeals of acquittal can be made where the decision to acquit was wrong as a matter of law, not fact. Appeals of this sort are possible precisely because trial judges are required to explain their findings of fact; such a thing would be more difficult in the American system because no one ever knows from the judge or jury what factual determination (s) led to the decision to acquit.

In South Africa, murder can be either intentional – meaning that the killer wanted to kill a person and intentionally did so – or reckless, meaning that a person did an intentional act knowing full well that it might result in someone’s death. For example, if I throw a brick out of the 14th story of a Manhattan building onto a sidewalk, I might not be intentionally aiming for someone’s head, but I am obviously aware that I could kill someone on the sidewalk.  This would be a reckless murder. Thus, the critical question in deciding whether someone is guilty of reckless murder is whether the result of the action was foreseeable by the defendant.

Here, Judge Masipa concluded that the State had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Pistorius intentionally killed his girlfriend. Also, she seemingly concluded that it had not been sufficiently proven that he intended to kill the person that he believed to be a burglar in his bathroom, because he was frightened (though this is a highly questionable factual conclusion, in the author’s opinion… I would tend to believe that shooting a high-powered handgun four times in someone’s direction at short range indicates an intention to kill).

This author has already written in detail about how an acquittal for murder was going to be almost impossible for Pistorius as a matter of law; now, South African legal scholars are suggesting that an appeal by the State could be successful as a result of the legal error suggested in this blog post and the previous one by this author.

In South Africa, deadly force is justified in self-defense only where the threat is objectively imminent and deadly.  Obviously, here, the person behind the bathroom door was not an imminent threat to Pistorius; after all, it was his girlfriend. Moreover, it was not reasonable to assume that the person was armed or dangerous without having made any inquiries whatsoever.

But, the Judge’s error was this: she concluded that he had not committed “reckless murder” (the South Africans use the word “dolus eventualis” in lieu of “recklessness” for legal purposes) because he did not foresee the possibility that Steenkamp was in the bathroom. But that is the wrong question! The question should have been: was it foreseeable that the PERSON – whoever it was – in the bathroom would die as a result. The question for reckless murder (or dolus eventualis) is this: “did the person intentionally perform an act while reckless to the possibility that a DEATH of a PERSON would result?”, and NOT “did the person intentionally perform an act while reckless to the possibility that a death of a PARTICULAR SPECIFIC PERSON would result?”

Since Pistorius’ use of force was not reasonable under the circumstances (indeed, she found it to have been “negligent”), then the only way he is not guilty of this reckless murder crime is if one somehow concludes that the death of THE PERSON in the bathroom was unforeseeable to Pistorius when he shot four times at close range into that tiny chamber. Frankly, that conclusion would be logically indefensible, and Masipa failed to even address it in her findings.

As such, I think there is a decent chance that Pistorius is convicted ON APPEAL of a charge for which he was acquitted at trial, but we shall see.

The Shadow Of Race On The Oscar Pistorius Trial

Reuters reporter Ed Cropley wrote an excellent overview of how the shadow of race hung over and impacted the Oscar Pistorius trial. As he put it, “In a fitting reminder of how South Africa has changed in the 20 years since apartheid, the fate of Pistorius, a wealthy white man from privileged roots, rests in the hands of a 66-year-old black woman from Soweto, Judge Thokozile Masipa.”

Written as a part of a prelude to the verdict being handed down, we provide this relevant excerpt:

Reuters News logo shows 5 circles of orange dots of various sizes creating an illusion of motion with the word Reuters in white to the right of the global icon.

 

THE SHADOW OF RACE

Since it first broke on the morning of Feb. 14 last year, the case has gripped millions around the world who saw Pistorius as the embodiment of triumph over adversity, a man whose lower legs were amputated as a baby but who reached the semi-finals of the 400 meters at the London Olympics in 2012.

That same year, Time magazine included him in its list of the world’s 100 most influential people, “the definition of global inspiration”.

In sports-mad South Africa, the shooting caused an even bigger impact, the stunning downfall of a sporting hero feted by black and white alike in a society still divided by its racist past.

But as the trial unfolded that sentiment changed.

The prosecution painted a picture of Pistorius as a gun-obsessed hot-head – he faces three other weapons-related charges – who handled a loaded pistol in a packed restaurant and whooped with joy when he blew apart a water-melon with a high-calibre pistol, likening the red mush to brains.

With many glued to the live court broadcast, post-apartheid South Africa was forced to look in the mirror and ask itself some uncomfortable questions, not least about male attitudes to violence and the reality of whites and blacks still inhabiting largely different worlds.

Why, commentators asked, of 34 witnesses called were only two – a security guard and police ballistics expert – black?

Why, Masipa aside, were nearly all the leading protagonists white in a nation where whites are just 10 percent of the population?

Was South Africa really so dangerous that Pistorius and his friends were justified in feeling the need to carry handguns?

And, as backdrop to it all, the universal white suburban fear: how to protect yourself from an intruder – assumed to be black – in the middle of the night, a fear hardwired by years of apartheid propaganda about the ‘swart gevaar’ (black danger).

Some even wondered aloud whether Pistorius would be on trial at all had his victim really been a black male burglar rather than a white, female model.

“This imaginary body of the paranoid imaginings of suburban South Africa has lurked like a bogeyman at the periphery of this story for the past year.

“It is perhaps the most atavistic of white South African fears,” wrote South African novelist Margie Orford at the start of the trial. “The threatening body, nameless and faceless, of an armed and dangerous black intruder.”

(Additional reporting by Nomatter Ndebele; Editing by Will Waterman)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014. Click For Restrictions

September 12, 2014 UPDATE: THE VERDICT: GUILTY OF CULPABLE HOMICIDE & 1 WEAPONS CHARGE

‘Blade Runner’ Will Be Sentenced October 13th

 

Judge rules Prosecution failed to prove pre-meditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp.

Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide after fatally shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013.

Judge Thokozile Masipa found that the prosecutors have failed to prove that the sprinter had planned out the murder although they successfully established the fact that Pistorius was being “negligent” and acted “hastily” by firing his gun in fear that there could be an intruder on the other side of the bathroom door in his luxury Pretoria home.

“A reasonable person, therefore, in the position of the accused with similar disability would have foreseen the possibility that whoever was behind the door might be killed by the shots,” the judge said.

Though acquitted of premeditated murder, Pistorius was found guilty of negligence stemming from one firearms charge that resulted after he fired a pistol under a table in a Johannesburg restaurant. He was, however, acquitted on two other firearms charges including illegal possession of ammunition and firing a pistol out of the roof of a car.

The so-called ‘Blade Runner’, a double amputee, could face up to 15 years in jail on the culpable homicide charge. His sentence will be handed down on October 13.

June Steenkamp, the mother of the dead 29-year-old model and reality TV star, was angry at the verdict.

“Justice was not served. I just don’t feel this is the right sentence,” the grieving mother told NBC News. “I won’t believe his story and that’s the difference.”

“I don’t care what happens to Oscar,” she added. “It’s not going to change anything because my daughter is never coming back. He’s still living and breathing and she’s gone . . . forever.”

Before his fall from grace, Pistrorius was a winner of six gold medals at three Paralympics sprinting events. Nicknamed the “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fibre prosthetics, Pistorius was once held to be a symbol of “triumph over adversity” and was credited with forging the way for athletes with disabilities to compete against able-bodied runners during the London 2012 Olympics.

September 11, 2014 UPDATE: THE VERDICT: NOT GUILTY OF MURDER

Paralympic Champion Faces Final Part Of Verdict Friday

 

Oscar Pistorius did not intentionally kill his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early morning hours of Valentine’s Day 2013.

That was the ruling of Judge Thokozile Masipa in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa. At that moment, Oscar Pistorius broke down into sobs. But the verdict is not complete. After a day long court session in which she read through the very lengthy overview of the case, Pistorius still faces a verdict on Friday on the charge of culpable homicide, or as it’s referred to in the United States – manslaughter. The Paralympic champion also faces additional gun charges and illegal possession of ammunition.

 

What happens after the final verdict is handed down?

If the so-called ‘Blade Runner is found guilty of culpable homicide, he will be taken to the court’s holding cells where he will wait while his attorneys apply for an extension of his bail which would allow Pistorius to be released pending the sentencing phase.

At most, Oscar Pistorius could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the culpable homicide charge, but mitigating factors, that a the judge has already cited, such as his disability, his diagnosis of anxiety disorder and his frail emotional state, whether put-on or not, could result in a more lenient non-custodial sentence.

Once the sentencing phase begins, both the Prosecution and the Defense will call another round of witnesses to testify in support of  aggravation or mitigation of the sentence to be followed by another round of closing arguments from both sides.

Plus the gun and illegal ammunition charges Pistorius is facing could also result in either a harsh penalty of up to 5 years in prison or a mitigated result.

And then, even if convicted, there is a lengthy appeals process in South Africa which could drag on for some time. This drama won’t be over anytime soon

 

Report from citizen.co.za on events leading up to the verdict:

 

AbledNews photo shows a retweet of a photo from SkyNews of Carl Pistorius arriving at the court in a wheelchair and with his legs in braces following injuries suffered in a high speed car crash.

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius hugged his family and lawyers after arriving at the High Court in Pretoria at around 9am ahead of judgment in his murder trial.

Pistorius pushed his ay through a media contingent outside the court after he arrived in a white SUV.

He embraced his aunt and shared a long hug with his brother Carl, who arrived earlier in a wheelchair.

Pistorius also hugged his lawyer Brian Webber and greeted the rest of his legal team.

The Steenkamp family just looked at him as he arrived in court. He greeted them, saying, “Morning,” and nodded his head slightly.

Pistorius was escorted to the dock, and bowed his head after taking his seat.

The mock-up toilet cubicle that had previously been in court was no longer there.

His sister Aimee arrived later in court, wearing a black skirt and jacket.

Pistorius’s uncle Arnold was also in court, with a serious look on his face.

Steenkamp’s uncle Michael Steenkamp was also in attendence.

Judge Thokozile Masipa was expected to start handing down judgment in the case at 9.30am.

Pistorius 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 his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013.

The State says the murder was premeditated.

When the trial started on March 3, Pistorius pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, and to three firearm-related charges.

August 8, 2014 UPDATE: VERDICT DUE SEPTEMBER 11

Oscar Pistorius Trial Judge Will Deliver Verdict In 5 Weeks

At the end of closing arguments today in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius, Judge Thokozile Masipa announced that she will deliver the verdict in the case on Thursday, September 11 at 9:30 AM local time. There are no jury trials in South Africa, so, over the course of those five weeks, Judge Masipa and two legal assistants (called assessors) will review up to 4,000 pages of court transcripts. Since Pistorius has admitted that he shot and killed Steenkamp, the key issue is: What was his intent? The spectrum of interpretation on that question in quite wide. At one extreme end, if Judge Masipa and the assessors find that he made a mistake and responded reasonably, the verdict would be not guilty aand he would be acquitted of the murder charge. It’s a question mark as to whether he would go free, because he is facing other firearms related charges. At the other end of the spectrum, if Pistorius is found guilty and the Judge and assessors believe that Pistorius shot Steenkamp with premeditated intent to kill, he would be sentenced to life in prison, with a 25 year minimum. If pre-meditation is not found, that minimum falls to 15 years. If there is reasonable doubt that Pistorius knew his girlfriend was behind the door, he will not be convicted of murder, but if the judge finds he acted unreasonably, he could be convicted of culpable homicide, in which case, the Judge, herself, would formulate the sentence. For more information, click on the tab ‘What Are The Charges’ under the photos of the main ‘characters’ in this trial.

August 8, 2014 Defence Closing Arguments Resume To Completion

Pistorius Defence Cites State Mistakes & Poor Evidence Handling

The lead Defence attorney in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial came out swinging and pointing fingers at prosecution mistakes and accused investigators of tampering with crime scene evidence. Barry Roux argued that Oscar Pistorius should be evaluated as ‘reasonable disabled person with anxiety, not as an ordinary reasonable man’. He said if the court finds that his client was ‘reasonable’, then he must be acquitted. The ‘anxiety defence’ was a major point in Roux’s closing arguments as he reminded the court that Pistorius had his legs amputated in childhood because of a congenital defect and that he suffers from anxiety. Roux used that argument to compare his client to an abuse victim who suddenly snaps after a long period of abuse. Roux emphasized that the burden of proof in this case is on the state, which he accused of ignoring other reasonable scenarios and facts. We have an overview of today’s closing arguments by the Defence from SABC News in South Africa in the video below, and you can watch the full video record of the day in court in the column to the right.

August 7, 2014 Closing Arguments Begin

Prosecutor Argues Oscar Pistorius ‘Dropped The Baton Of Truth’

The man who’s come to be know as ‘the bulldog’ sank his legal teeth into the character of Olympic sprinter and Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius as closing arguments began in the murder trial of the so-called ‘Blade Runner’ who has admitted shooting his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, in the early morning hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013. At issue is whether the shooting was a pre-meditated act versus a tragic accident because Pistorius claims he thought there was an intruder in his bathroom. The prosecution is arguing that Pistorius intentionally shot Steenkamp repeatedly through a bathroom door after a loud argument. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel  compared the trial, which began on March 3rd, to a relay race and called Pistorius a ‘deceitful’ witness who ‘dropped the baton of truth’ and cannot escape a murder conviction for his actions. Nel argued before the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa before Judge Thokozile Masipa and two legal assistants who will determine the fate of the fallen Paralympic champion. There are no jury trials in the country. Reading from a 100 page argument, Gerrie Nel said the prosecution is focusing on 13 incongruities it identified in the testimony of Pistorius. Nel mocked the loud sobs and uncontrolled crying that punctuated the ‘Blade Runner’s’ time on the witness stand as ‘well-calculated and rehearsed emotional outbursts to deflect the attention and avoid having to answer questions”. He called Pistorius one of the worst witnesses he had ever encountered. We have a detailed overview of the Prosecution’s closing arguments as well as the brief start of closing arguments by lead Defence attorney Barry Roux from South Africa’s SABC Digital News. Sources: CNN | ABC | SABC |

AbledPoll Banner shows a photo of Oscar Pistorius dressed in a grey hooded sweat top as he leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria, South Africa, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 en route to appear in court charged with murder.
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Courtroom Video Archive of Day 2 of the Sentencing Hearing of Oscar Pistorius

Courtroom Video Archive of Day 1 of the Sentencing Hearing of Oscar Pistorius

Summary of Day 1 in the sentencing hearing from SABC Digital News

Though the title of the following video is mislabeled  at the source, this is the courtroom video from Friday, September 12, 2014 – the second and final day of the reading of the verdict in the Oscar Pistorius trial.

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Report from SkyNews on footage leaked from a U.S. production company that was commissioned by the Oscar Pistorius Defence team. It was never used in court and was sold to an Australian television network which produced a special report on it. That video follows this one.

Documentary on key questions in the Pistorius case:

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