'Firearm negligence, firearm conviction may lead to prison sentence for Pistorius'

The athlete was on Friday convicted of culpable homicide and firearm negligence.

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is seen during judgment in his murder trial at the High Court in Pretoria on Friday, 12 September 2014. Picture: Pool.

JOHANNESBURG - It's believed Oscar Pistorius's degree of negligence that led to him killing Reeva Steenkamp compounded by his firearm conviction may lead to a prison sentence.

Judge Thokozile Masipa on Friday convicted the athlete of culpable homicide and the negligent use of a firearm, in connection with the shooting at a restaurant.

Masipa has granted Oscar Pistorius extended bail and his sentencing will begin on 13 October.

WITS law professor James Grant says the court found Oscar Pistorius was "grossly negligent" when he shot Reeva Steenkamp.

"When she considered how Oscar conducted himself relative to how a reasonable gun owner would have conducted himself, you'd find there is a massive deviation."

He says the restaurant shooting a month before killing his girlfriend could be viewed as an aggravating factor.

"The offence of the negligent handling of a firearm I expect would be seen as in some way related to the negligent use of a firearm which caused the death of the victim."

The defence indicated in closing argument that Pistorius's fear of crime and vulnerability would be used as mitigating factors.


Masipa told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that she had considered all options.

"I have used my discretion in favour of the accused. I grant the application to extend the bail of the accused."

Masipa says the onus was on the state to provide sufficient reasons as to why Pistorius should not be granted extended bail which in her view the state failed to do.

Map, chronology, flat plan and photos illustrating the Oscar Pistorius trial. Graphic: AFP.

"This is not a schedule five of schedule six offence. For that reason the onus is on the state to persuade this court that it is not in the interest of justice that the accused's bail be extended. I am not so persuaded."

Masipa earlier summarised her judgement saying once again that Pistorius is not guilty of murder.

The accused is found not guilty and is discharged. Instead he is found guilty of culpable homicide.

The judge also then ruled that the blade runner was guilty of negligence for firing a shot in a Johannesburg restaurant.

His friend Darren Fresco took the blame.

The judge was clear in her ruling.

"On count three, the accused is found guilty of the second alternative. That is the contravention of section 120, 3 B."

However, she found that he could not be found guilty in relation to firing a shot through the sunroof of a car while returning from the Vaal Dam.

He was also found not guilty in connection with ammunition kept at his home.


Members of the Port Elizabeth community where Reeva Steenkamp grew up appear to be divided about the judgment.

Some say Judge Thokozile Masipa was too lenient while others have welcomed the ruling.

There have been ups and downs during the past six months for Reeva Steenkamp's parents.

Some Port Elizabeth residents say it will be hard for the family to find closure after Oscar Pistorius was found 'not guilty' or murder.

WATCH:There has been a mixed reaction in Port Elizabeth, the home town of Reeva Steenkamp, to the culpable homicide conviction of Oscar Pistorius.

This close friend of the Steenkamps, Tyrees McLellan says Barry and June Steenkamp have changed significantly due to the emotional strain.

"I've seen aunty June go from a bubbly person to a very withdrawn person. Uncle Barry from being a huge man wither down to the size he is today."

However some community members in Reeva Steenkamp's hometown have welcomed the judgement, believing Pistorius made an honest mistake.

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