#OscarTrial: Judgment Day
Judge Thokozile Masipa will today deliver her much anticipated judgment in the Oscar Pistorius trial.
JOHANNESBURG – Judge Thokozile Masipa will spend a significant amount of time during her verdict today in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, summarising the evidence of 37 witnesses who testified over 39 court days.
Pistorius shot and killed his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his Pretoria East home on Valentine’s Day last year.
The double-amputee says he fired the shots through the door into the toilet cubicle in the mistaken belief he was defending himself from a burglar.
But the state believes he killed her in a fit of rage following an argument.
Masipa and her assessors would have summarised the evidence given by each witness and would have determined the weight and credibility of each witnesses testimony.
Wits University law professor James Grant explains.
“She needs to make her findings in respect of all witnesses, but importantly of the ear witnesses who seem to be the most important witnesses.”
Masipa will pay special attention to Pistorius’s time on the witness stand and will reveal whether she found him credible and believable and whether his version of events is possibly true.
If she is convinced, the athlete could avoid a murder conviction.
MASIPA AND NEL ARRIVE
Masipa arrived at the High Court early this morning after being escorted by a blue light convoy.
State prosecutor Gerrie Nel arrived a short while after her.
A massive contingent of media has lined the street leading to the courthouse.
Special accreditation has been arranged for the Steenkamp and Pistorius families while only a select number of journalists will be allowed in.
The department of justice has cleared an additional courtroom where visuals and sound from the trial will be broadcast for the public.
The overflow room was filled to near capacity during the Blade Runner’s testimony as it was the only place where the athlete could be seen.
Broadcast cameras are already set up at points outside the building.
Though the court’s doors are still locked and construction barriers are in place, police have cleared the road for the athlete’s arrival and the two families.
‘MURDER’, ‘CULPABLE HOMICIDE’ OR ‘NOT GUILTY’
The world could hear a judgment of ‘murder’, ‘culpable homicide’ or ‘not guilty’ today as the judge hands down her verdict.
She must decide whether Pistorius’s version of what happened in his bathroom on Valentine’s Day last year is reasonably possibly true.
If she believes the athlete, she could then acquit him on a charge of murder, but if she finds that the state has met its burden of proof in this trial, Masipa could convict the athlete of murder.
If the judge decides that Pistorius was negligent, she could find him guilty on a lesser charge of culpable homicide.
And if she comes to the conclusion it was all a terrible tragedy and a case of mistaken identity Pistorius could be acquitted.
Pictures: Carte Blanche EWN. Video: EWN
(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)