As well as being suspected with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, Oscar Pistorius is held with serious gun charges of which are related to this case, and two further gun charges outside of this incident.
The judge in the Oscar Pistorius trial has outlined that the prosecution have undoubtedly failed to give evidence that his girlfriend was killed knowingly by Oscar himself and therefore now, Judge Masipa is questioning Pistorius regarding a subjective test rather than that of objective.
Judge Thokozile Masipa’s technique is tolerant of not just the law but of error, precise yet succinct and noticebly slow as she seeps through her mounds of paperwork. Slow it may be however she couldn’t be more to the point.
There is no fault in her argument, as she summarises the case before giving her verdict, mentioning there is insignificant evidence whereby the prosecution provided witnesses from the night of the incident of whom had “got facts wrong”.
It is important to notice that although she has excused Pistorius of premeditated murder she notes that he indefinitely knew the result of his actions may cost somebody their life. Her decision now is to distinguish the possible scenarios of which are Culpable Homicide (Manslaughter) of which notes no intention to kill, she will take into account his disability however the actions are still not keeping with a reasonable person. Furthermore, the Discharging of a Firearm in public and Illegal Possession of Ammunition are alternative charges: all of which could conclude up to fifteen years in prison.
It is now the court’s task to place themselves into Pistorius’ shoes and question if they would have acted as he did. In terms of the law, the criteria in regards to a Culpable Homicide is much more strict than that of murder; in the sense that it is somewhat easier to dictate if a murder was in fact intentional and how the context of the situation is assessed. When determining a homicide, the surrounding factors are considered much more of a complexity.
Culpable Homicide is based on negligence, if Oscar Pistorius if charged with this then it is possible for him to face a non-custodial sentence. This is not inevitable however, and he could still face up to fifteen years in a South African prison and importantly, it has been noted that he would not receive special treatment regarding his disability.