Pistorius found guilty of culpable homicide

Athlete cleared of murdering girlfriend in 2013 also found guilty of negligently handling gun in restaurant.

    South African Judge Thokozile Masipa has found Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide and negligently handling a gun in a restaurant, but acquitted him on two other firearm charges.

    On Thursday the sprinter was cleared of murder, but a final verdict on culpable homicide, which is an equivalent to manslaughter, was only handed down on Friday in a Pretoria court.

    In the state's first victory after the shock dismissal of murder charges against the star athlete, the judge said Pistorius was guilty of recklessly discharging a firearm in a packed Johannesburg restaurant.

    Pistorius was accused of asking to see a gun in Tasha's restaurant and while handling it under the table the firearm went off.

    "He may not have intentionally pulled the trigger... that does not absolve him of the crime of negligently handling a firearm," Masipa said.

    In a ruling announced on Thursday, Masipa said the 27-year-old amputee athlete could not have foreseen he would kill the person behind the door, his 29-year-old girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013.

    Al Jazeera's Tania Page, reporting live from Pretoria, said that the not guilty verdict in the murder charge has caused a lot of confusion and debate among individuals and law professionals following the case.

    The charge of culpable homicide carries a minimum sentence of a fine, or up to 10 years in prison, according to the discretion of the judge.

    'Two Oscars' 

    Nearly 40 witnesses testified during the trial, including Pistorius, who broke down, weeping and at times vomiting as he heard how Steenkamp's head "exploded" like a watermelon under the impact of his hollow-point bullet.

    Pistorius awaits verdict of murder trial

    Prosecutors described the double amputee as an egotistical liar obsessed with guns, fast cars and beautiful women, who was not prepared to take responsibility for his actions.

    Defence lawyers sought to explain there are "two Oscars": a world-class athlete and a highly vulnerable individual with a serious disability who acted out of fear, not anger, when he fired the fatal shots.

    The sprinter does not deny that he had killed Steenkamp, but questioned why he did it.

    He said he thought he was shooting at an intruder and that Steenkamp was safely in bed.

    The prosecution said he killed her in a fit of rage after an argument.

    Steenkamp, voted one of the 100 Sexiest Women in the World by FHM magazine in 2011 and 2012, also had a high profile before her untimely death.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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