The judge in the trial of Oscar Pistorius has ruled that his killing of Reeva Steenkamp was NOT pre-mediatated murder.
Saying that any evidence for murder was purely circumstantial and that the prosecution had not made a satisfactory case for premeditated murder, Judge Thokozile Masipa dismissed pre-meditated murder and took lunch leaving the world to speculate whether she would find him guilty of non-culpable homicide or simply acquit him.
The so-called Blade Runner faced one count of murder and unrelated charges of illegally discharging a firearm and illegally possessing ammunition. 27 year-old Pistorius pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Pistorius has admitted to killing his girlfriend, 29 year-old Ms Steenkamp; however, his defence is that he mistakenly shot her through a closed bathroom door because he thought she was an intruder.
He claims that he fired at the door of the bathroom after hearing a noise without thinking and said it was an “accidental discharge,” and that he genuinely believed his life was in danger. The prosecution has argued that it was a deliberate and premeditated murder.
The trial lasted for 41 days, heard from 37 witnesses and gripped South Africa and the rest of the world. The judge said it was clear Pistorius was in control of his actions, saying: “There’s a huge difference between a reflex and involuntary action” and said he “took a conscious decision” to shoot and that “he knew where he kept his firearm and where the bathroom was.” Judge Masipa went on: “This court is satisfied that at the relevant time the accused could distinguish between right and wrong and could act in accordance.” The judge also dismissed the defence of putative defence: “There was no lapse of memory or any confusion on the part of the accused.”
Pistorius sat in the dock, his head bowed, tears rolling down his face while the judge read out her verdict.