Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is guilty of culpable homicide in the death of Reeva Steenkamp.

Oscar Pistorius in the High Court in Pretoria on judgment day. Picture: Pool.

PRETORIA - Judge Thokozile Masipa has ruled that Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is guilty of culpable homicide in the death of Reeva Steenkamp.

Masipa asked the athlete to stand as she gave her final verdict on all four counts the State had charged him with.

Count 1 - Pistorius was found not guilty of murdering Steenkamp, but found guilty of culpable homicide.

Count 2 - The negligent discharging of a firearm from the sunroof of a vehicle on a public road, Pistorius was found not guilty.

Count 3 - The negligent discharging of a firearm at Tasha's restaurant which is in a public place, Pistorius was found guilty.

Count 4 - The illegal possession of ammunition which Pistorius carried in his safe, he was not guilty.

Culpable homicide carries prison time of up to 15 years while negligently discharging a firearm in a public place carries prison time of up to five years.

However, a judge can also decide to only impose a fine or issue a lesser sentence for both these charges by considering the circumstances surrounding the incidents.

This basically means that Pistorius may never see the inside of a prison.


Pistorius's defence team also applied for bail and his attorney Barry Roux said his client was already out on bail for the serious crime of murder and had been complying with the conditions.

Roux said there were no facts before the court to deny bail, but State prosecutor Gerrie Nel put some facts on the table.

"He now faces a jail term, he has sold his properties and he was involved in a nightclub incident."

Nel added the Pistorius family issued a statement confirming an incident and referred to Pistorius's 'self-harming behaviour'.

"I do not think that it is in the interests of justice to release a person convicted of culpable homicide on bail."

But in the end, Pistorius was led down to the cells by a policeman and court adjourned until 12:30.


Masipa found Pistorius guilty on the charge of negligently discharging a firearm at Tasha's in Melrose Arch.

"The State has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused contravened the sections of the Firearm Control Act."

She said Kevin Lerena was a good witness and showed no bias.

"His evidence is accepted in full. and witness Darren Fresco's evidence is also accepted."


On Count 4 of the charge of illegal possession of ammuntion, Masipa found him not guilty.

"The State has to prove there is a mental intention to possess the firearm or ammunition to secure a conviction."

Masipa said Pistorius needed to have necessary mental intention to possess ammunition illegally.

"It is possible to possess a firearm innocently, like a person who picks up a firearm to return it to its owner."

Masipa says Pistorius's version remains uncontroverted and the State failed to prove that the athlete had intention to possess the ammunition.

Video: Pistorius acquitted of murder.


For Count 2, which is the incident in which Pistorius shot through a sunroof of a car near the Vaal Dam, Masipa found Pistorius not guilty and acquitted him on the charge.

She said the State had failed to prove its case.

"Evidence placed before the court falls short of conviction. The state has failed to establish conviction. The state has failed to establish that the accused is guilty on this count and has to be acquitted."

When the judge began reading her judgment on Thursday, she said that the state had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was guilty of premeditated murder, although she did say he was a poor and evasive witness.

She also said he could not be found guilty of murder dolus eventualis.


Masipa also dealt with Fresco's indemnity.

She says the State and defence had already addressed her on this issue.

He was granted a 204 indemnity, much like Glen Agliotti in the Selebi trial, and Mikey Schultz in the Kebble murder.

Masipa said it was clear that Fresco was not out to falsely implicate the accused.

Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp at his Pretoria East home on Valentine's Day last year.

The double-amputee maintains he fired the shots through the door into the toilet cubicle in the mistaken belief he was defending himself from a burglar.

But the state argued he killed her in a fit of rage following an argument.

For more on the trial, click here, or visit the live Oscar Pistorius blog, click here.