Judge Thokozile Masipa has today (September 11) cleared Oscar Pistorius of the premeditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp.
The Paralympic athlete faced a 25-year prison sentence for premeditated murder but the evidence against him, Judge Masipa told, was “purely circumstantial.”
The 66-year-old judge went on to explain that the “facts were not there.”
Adding: “The state clearly has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder.
‚Ä®”Viewed in its totality, the evidence failed to establish that the accused had the requisite intention to kill the deceased, let alone with premeditation.”
Masipa told the court that Pistorius “acted too hastily and used excessive force” and was “negligent” at the time of Steenkamp’s death, however, she did not find him guilty of culpable homicide.
The athlete’s up-bringing was discussed, but the judge stated Pistorius’ violent childhood – with a mother who carried a gun – did not mitigate his actions as a large number of people in South Africa were raised around violence, but do not sleep with a gun at hand.
Masipa said the Paralympic athlete had time to evaluate the situation at the time, unlike if he awoke with an intruder directly by his bedside.
The judge claimed that a “reasonable person” would not have acted the way Pistorius did at the time of Steenkamp’s death, and suggested that he knew the consequences of repeatedly firing his gun through the bathroom door.
Masipa told the court: “He took a conscious decision, he knew where he kept his firearm and he knew where his bathroom was. This is inconsistent with lack of criminal capacity.
‚Ä®”The intention to shoot however does not necessarily include the intention to kill.”
‚Ä®Somewhat confusingly, Masipa’s comments insinuating Pistorius foresaw the outcome of his actions seemed to contradict her earlier statement in finding him not guilty of culpable homicide.
The case was adjourned and will reconvene tomorrow (Friday 12) morning and Masipa’s decision could depend on whether she thinks Pistorius ‘did’ see the consequences of firing through the bathroom door, or whether he ‘should have’ anticipated the result.