Oscar Pistorius has been found guilty of culpable homicide – equivalent to manslaughter in British law – for killing Reeva Steenkamp. The ruling was based on the judge’s finding that he used excessive force and was negligent in firing through the door. Crucially, the judge believed Pistorius’s claim that he believed he was under attack from an intruder.
The culpable homicide charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years but no minimum sentence.
Judge Thokosile Masipa granted Pistorius bail, despite the state barrister arguing that he posed a flight risk now that he knew it was likely he would face a custodial sentence and had sold his house.
Pistorius was found not guilty of two of three firearms charges he faced, one of firing a pistol through the sunroof of a moving car, which carried a maximum five-year sentence, and the other for the possession of ammunition, which carried a maximum 15 year sentence.
He was found guilty of one of the three firearms charges, recklessly firing a gun in public at Tasha’s Bistro in Cape Town. That charge could also carry up to five years.
The International Paralympic Committee issued a statement saying that Pistorius had “done a great deal for the Paralympic movement” and would be allowed to compete again.
South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority said it was “disappointed” with the verdict: “We respect the court decision to convict the accused on culpable homicide, which is in fact a serious crime. We are, however, disappointed that we were not successful in securing a conviction on the original charge of premeditated murder.”
Pistorius’s friend Darren Fresco, who was involved in two of the firearms incidents, had his immunity from prosecution upheld.