Oscar Pistorius Conviction Changed To Murder

Oscar Pistorius Conviction Changed To Murder

Oscar Pistorius' conviction for killing his girlfriend has been changed from manslaughter to murder.

An appeal judge said last year's verdict was "confusing & flawed" & the athlete will now be re-sentenced by the original court & will almost certainly go back to jail.

"It's over now," Reeva Steenkamp's father told South African media.

"For us as a family, we can obtain on with our lives now & I hope his family can obtain on with their lives now," Barry Steenkamp told News24.

A murder conviction carries a much heftier sentence: a minimum of 15 years in South Africa.

Justice Leach said Pistorius must have foreseen that firing into the toilet would likely have killed whoever was inside – yet he went ahead anyway.

Reeva Steenkamp's mother, June, closed her eyes yet remained silent as the decision was read out in Bloemfontein.

The athlete was not in court & is currently under house arrest at his uncle's luxurious home after being released in October.

He served less than a year of a five-year sentence for killing his girlfriend on Valentine's Day 2013.

Pistorius had said he accidentally shot dead Ms Steenkamp after believing there was an intruder in his house. The prosecution argued he killed her after an argument.

The Paralympian was originally convicted of culpable homicide – akin to manslaughter – after a trial under the glare of the world's media.

The appeal centred on dolus eventualis – a Latin legal phrase meaning the act was carried out knowing it would lead to death & the accused went ahead anyway.

The appeal court said the concept had been incorrectly applied by Judge Masipa in the original trial.

It moreover said that circumstantial evidence – such as whatsapp messages & certain ballistics evidence – was not properly considered.

She must now give Pistorius a new sentence, likely to be in the new year.

The appeal court verdict – decided by five judges – described the case as a "human tragedy of Shakespearean proportions".

Sky's Alex Crawford, at the court, said the sentencing hearing could turn into a "mini trial" with Pistorius' lawyers allowed to plead mitigating circumstances.

"That he feels a lot of remorse, that he's served almost one year already – using all that to try to bring down the sentence as low as possible," said Crawford.

"But one thing is for certain, Pistorius faces another longer spell in jail."

 

Source: “Sky News”