The Supreme Court of Appeal has replaced Oscar Pistorius’s culpable homicide conviction with murder, ruling that he should have foreseen the deadly impact his four bullets would have in a small bathroom.
“It’s over now.” That is how Reeva Steenkamp’s father Barry greeted the news of Oscar Pistorius’s murder conviction in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.
While Reeva Steenkamp’s mother June attended the Supreme Court of Appeal proceedings on Thursday morning, Barry stayed at their Port Elizabeth home and followed the proceedings on TV.
Speaking to News24 from the family-owned pub The Barking Spider in Greenbushes shortly after judge Kevin Leach read out the judgment that Pistorius was guilty of murder, and not culpable homicide, Steenkamp said he was not surprised by the verdict.
“I’ve been watching since 07:00 this morning,” he said. “If you took note of what I’ve said right from the beginning, it’s not over yet, it’s not over yet… it’s over now.”
Steenkamp said the ruling meant that both families could now get on with their lives.
“For us as a family, we can get on with our lives now and I hope his family can get on with their lives now,” he said.
Steenkamp said justice had prevailed.
Asked what the family would do now, he said they would focus on promoting the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation for Abused Women and Children which his wife had launched at St Dominics High School in Port Elizabeth in October.
June Steenkamp sobbed after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Thursday replaced Oscar Pistorius’s culpable homicide conviction – for the killing of her daughter, Reeva Steenkamp – with one of murder.
Steenkamp stood outside the court in Bloemfontein hugging members of the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL).
She would not speak to the media, but was seen wiping away tears.
The ANCWL had been supporting the Steenkamp family throughout the trial in Pretoria and during the appeal.
“We are happy with what the judges decided today. We want to say to men out there – let the killings of women stop,” said ANCWL Free State chairperson, Mapaseka Nkoane.
ANCWL members outside court shouted, “Down with Oscar, down” and “Jail for Oscar, jail”.
The SCA’s ruling comes almost three years after Pistorius shot Steenkamp, his girlfriend at the time, dead later saying he mistook her for an intruder. He fired four shots into the bathroom door of his Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day in 2013.
Oscar Pistorius will now have to provide a compelling reason why he should not be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in jail for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a legal expert said on Thursday.
“He is still serving his sentence for culpable homicide, and the sentencing will be heard afresh by the high court,” Marius du Toit, a defence lawyer and former prosecutor, told News24.
“He is now facing a 15-year jail term, unless he provides substantial and compelling reasons to the high court to deviate from that.”
Du Toit said it was possible that Pistorius would be able to provide a compelling reason.
“He was sentenced to five years [for the culpable homicide]. I think he is capable of maybe bringing it [the murder sentence] down to a 10 year sentence, suspended for five years.”
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision to replace Oscar Pistorius’s culpable homicide conviction with murder.
“It affirms our contention that the trial court judge misdirected herself in her interpretation in the application of the law,” spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku told News24.
The SCA replaced Pistorius’s culpable homicide conviction with murder, ruling that he should have foreseen the deadly impact his four bullets would have in a small bathroom.
Justice Eric Leach said when handing down the judgment : “He [Pistorius] fired four shots through the door and he never offered an acceptable explanation… he fired not one, but four shots… that is exactly what the accused did.
“I have no doubt that in firing the fatal shots, the accused… did foresee that whoever was behind that toilet door might die.”
He said the trial court made an error in law in applying the principles of dolus eventualis (perpetrators forseeing the risk of death occurring but nevertheless proceeding with the act).
Derrick Spies, News24
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