The South African appeals court has found Oscar Pistorius guilty of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Words: Isabella Ellis, Subeditor: Mariya Savova
The Olympian killed Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013, after firing four shots through a locked toilet door in his apartment.
Pistorius later said he believed that she was an intruder and was found guilty of culpable homicide. This verdict has now been overturned, as Justice Eric Leach said the original trial had been “fundamentally flawed.’’
The 29-year-old broke records in 2012 after becoming the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics.
The judges concluded that Pistorius’s reasons for shooting were implausible and that his claim that he did so in self-defence was irrational.
South African law specifies that for an individual to legally open fire on someone, they must have first determined that there is a real threat to their life. In the case of Pistorius, Leach said that there was no evidence the person behind the toilet door posed a threat.
Pistorius served one year of his original five-year sentence behind bars but was released under house arrest in October. No date has yet been set for the retrial but the minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years in prison.
The prosecution was led by Gerrie Nel, who argued that the initial ruling by Judge Masipa had misinterpreted the law of dolus eventualis (murder with intent). However, the Court said that the decision didn’t impact her credibility or expertise.
— daphne sargent (@daphnesargent) December 3, 2015
Many took to social media to praise the decision and the hashtag #JusticeForReeva was shared widely.