In one of the most publicised trials in recent memory, South African athlete Oscar Pistorious has been found not guilty of pre-meditated murder.
Judge Thokozile Masipa today delivered her verdict on the Oscar Pistroious case, declaring him not guilty of the pre-meditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp, but has declared that he was negligent in his actions, and will pass down the final verdict tomorrow.
She deemed that he knowingly and consciously shot through the door to the bathroom, and that he knew right from wrong when doing so, adding that these actions were "inconsistent" with someone who claimed that they were not thinking when they shot.
Much has been made of some crucial words that were used in this case, dolus eventualis. Basically, they mean that you have an awareness of what the outcomes of your actions will be, and when it comes to this case, firing repeatedly into a small bathroom cubicle where you knew there was someone would have one probable outcome.
Judge Masipa also added, however, that having the intention to shoot does not mean that you have the intention to kill, which is a crucial difference, but the case hinged on whether he had the intention to kill Reeva Steenkamp, who he claimed he thought was in the bedroom, not the bathroom.
In declaring him not guilty of pre-meditated murder, she stated that Pistorious was a very poor witness, saying that he was "more worried by the impact his answers might cause than by the question".
#OscarPistorius Judge: OP was "a very poor witness." She also says it was NOT because he traumatized, as defense argued
— Gerald Imray (@GeraldImrayAP) September 11, 2014
However, after much consideration she decided that the state had not proven "beyond reasonable doubt" that he was guilty of pre-meditated murder (a sentence that would have been 25 years to life), but that he was in full control of his actions when he shot into the bathroom cubicle. She also concluded that the evidence did not point to murder dolus eventualis (that he was aware his actions would kill Steenkamp) either.
Masipa said "on the facts of this case I am not persuaded that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have fired four shots in to that cubicle", adding that he had time to reflect and act more reasonably, but that he was negligent in his actions on the night.
With no final verdict until tomorrow (or possibly next week), it seems likely that he will be charged with negligent or culpable homicide (similar to manslaughter) and may face conviction on the further firearms charges too.