Judge delivering Pistorius verdict





















Oscar Pistorius









LIVE: Judge Thokosile Masipa gives her verdict at the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius








The judge in the Oscar Pistorius trial has begun delivering her verdict on the athlete, a process that may take hours.

The Olympic double-amputee sprinter faces 25 years in jail if found guilty of premeditated murder.

He denies intentionally killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year, saying he thought there was an intruder.

The judge could also find him guilty of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, for which he would face a long jail term.














Possible scenarios


Verdict

What it means

Sentence

Premeditated murder


Intended and planned to unlawfully kill Reeva Steenkamp, or an intruder


Mandatory life term – 25 years before parole


Common-law murder


Unlawfully intended to kill in the heat of the moment but without “malice aforethought”. Either:
Dolus directus (direct intention), shot at door intending to kill
Dolus eventualis (aware of likely outcome), knew someone might be killed and still fired gun


Minimum of 15 years up to 20 years, at judge’s discretion


Culpable homicide (manslaughter)


No intention to kill. Takes into account disability, but actions negligent and not in keeping with a reasonable person


Maximum of 15 years, possibly between seven and 10 years


Discharging a firearm in public


Two counts for allegedly firing a gun through a car sunroof and discharging a gun at a restaurant


A fine or up to five years – for each charge


Illegal possession of ammunition


In possession of .38 bullets for which he has no licence


A fine or up to 15 years





Mr Pistorius, 27, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges he faces, including two counts of shooting a firearm in public and the illegal possession of ammunition.

Judge Thokosile Masipa began by detailing the charges against the athlete and repeating extracts of his testimony, reading in a slow, measured way.

She then moved on to a summary of the trial.

A tense-looking Mr Pistorius looked on from the dock.

Correspondents say the judge appeared to be moving much more quickly than expected through the evidence, in a process which had been expected take hours or even days.

During his closing remarks last month, his lawyer Barry Roux conceded that the athlete should be found guilty of negligence for discharging a firearm in a restaurant – which carries a maximum penalty of five years.
















Andrew Harding at scene of shooting









The BBC’s Andrew Harding has gained access to the house where the shooting took place









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Analysis: BBC’s Andrew Harding in Pretoria

The cameras have been reinstalled in courtroom GD – ready to catch the reaction of Oscar Pistorius as he finally learns his fate.

But the athlete and those following outside will have to wait – quite possibly until Friday – for Judge Thokosile Masipa to reach her conclusion. Before then, she will spend hours assessing the credibility of all 37 witnesses – not least Mr Pistorius’s own performance.

The prosecution insists it has proved the athlete deliberately shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He maintains it was a terrible mistake – that he thought she was an intruder.

Two assessors have helped the judge to reach her verdict – and can even overrule her. Many legal experts believe an acquittal is unlikely and that more legal battles lie ahead.

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Most of the trial, which began on 3 March 2014, has been televised and attracted worldwide attention.

Before the fatal shooting, the 27-year-old athlete was feted in South Africa and known as the “blade runner”.

He had won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and also competed at the Olympics.


Oscar Pistorius of South Africa competes at the London Olympics - August 2014In 2012, Oscar Pistorius made history by becoming the first double amputee to run in the Olympic Games


Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius posing next to his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, Johannesburg, South Africa (26 January 2013)The athlete and Reeva Steenkamp had been dating for three months before the fatal shooting

The judgement at his trial is likely to be well over 100 pages. The judge will go through each charge, summing up the prosecution and defence cases and analysing the evidence.

Ms Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, was hit three times by bullets shot through a toilet door by Mr Pistorius at his home in the capital, Pretoria, in the early hours of 14 February 2013.
















Judge Thokosile Masipa









Judge Thokosile Masipa has shown a meticulous attention to detail and fairness








He denies the prosecution’s allegation that the couple – who had been dating for three months – had rowed.

The athlete said he thought she was still in the bedroom when he heard a noise in the bathroom, which he believed to be an intruder.

The prosecution have tried to characterise Mr Pistorius as a “hothead”, while his defence team have portrayed him as having a heightened response to perceived danger because of his disability and background.

In July, a psychiatric report requested by the judge said Mr Pistorius had post-traumatic stress disorder but no mental illness that could prevent him being held criminally responsible for his actions.










INTERACTIVE




3D impression of Pistorius house






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  • 1. Balcony


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    Balcony

    Mr Pistorius said in his statement at the start of the trial that he woke in the early hours and walked on his stumps to the balcony, pulled in two fans, closed the sliding door and drew curtains. He said that shortly before he had spoken to Reeva, who was in bed beside him.

    He said he rejected prosecution claims that a witness heard arguing coming from the house before the shooting.





  • 2. Bathroom window


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    Mr Pistorius said he heard the bathroom window sliding open and believed that an intruder, or intruders, had entered the bathroom through a window which was not fitted with burglar bars.

    “Unbeknown to me, Reeva must have gone to the toilet in the bathroom at the time I brought in the fans,” he said.

    Mr Pistorius said he approached the bathroom armed with his firearm, to defend himself and his girlfriend, believing Ms Steenkamp was still in bed.





  • 3. Shooting


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    Both sides agree four bullets were fired. Ms Steenkamp was hit three times.

    Mr Pistorius said he fired his weapon after hearing a noise in the toilet which he thought was the intruder coming out of the toilet to attack him and Ms Steenkamp.

    He said he was in a fearful state, knowing he was on his stumps and unable to run away or properly defend himself.

    Mr Pistorius said he rejected claims that he was on his prostheses when he shot at the door.

    A witness told the trial she woke to hear a woman screaming and a man shouting for help. She said that after the screams she heard four shots.





  • 4. Bedroom


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    Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bedroom after shooting at the toilet door, still shouting for Reeva. Lifting himself up onto the bed, he felt over to the right hand side of it and noticed Ms Steenkamp was not there.

    Mr Pistorius said this was when he realised she could have been in the toilet.





  • 5. Toilet door


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    Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bathroom but the toilet was locked, so he returned to the bedroom, pulled on his prosthetic legs, turned on the lights before bashing in the toilet door with a cricket bat.


    Forensics expert Johannes Vermeulen told the court that the height of the marks on the door caused by the cricket bat suggest Mr Pistorius was on his stumps at the time.





  • 6. Emergency calls


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    Mr Pistorius’s defence team say he then called security at the gated housing complex and a private paramedic service before carrying Ms Steenkamp downstairs.

    A security guard claimed it was the other way round, and he had called Mr Pistorius first after reports of gunfire. However, phone records shown to the court revealed Mr Pistorius called the estate manager at 3:19am, a minute later he called the ambulance service and at 3:21am he called estate security.

    A minute later he received an incoming call – estate security calling him back.


    According to police phone expert Francois Moller, Mr Pistorius called his friend Justin Divaris a short time later and just after 4:00am he called his brother Carl.





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