Oscar Pistorius trial: Olympic athlete's verdict to be heard Thursday

The South African double amputee has been on trial for over six months for the murder of his girlfriend on Valentine's Day 2013

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is due to hear the verdict of his murder trial this week, bringing to a close a sensational and televised trial six months after it began.

The double-amputee athlete will learn his fate on Thursday 11 September, 19 months after the 27-year-old shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, 29.

Oscar Pistorius trial live

The trial has spanned six and a half months, during which Pistorius has always maintained he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and panicked, shooting through the bathroom door out of fear.

Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa has the final decision on whether or not Pistorius will be found guilty of premeditated murder – a charge which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years.

 

Judge Masipa, 66, who has previously worked as a social worker and crime reporter, has presided over the trial since March.

Defence and prosecution teams wrapped up their final arguments on 7 August, retiring to allow the judge to make her decision.

Pistorius tweeted on 8 August: “Thank you to my loved ones and those that have been there for me, who have picked me up and helped me through everything.”

The athlete’s defence counsel Barry Roux says his client is neither liable nor negligent in the death of Steenkamp, with the killing following an “involuntary reflexive response”.

Video: Closing arguments made during the trial last month

“He is trained as an athlete, to react to a sound,” Mr Roux said. “And he’s standing there, with his finger on the trigger.

“If I were to stand behind him [in such a situation], his finger on the trigger, and he is in a fearful state, and I clap my hands, I am very happy to argue that on some occasion, he may pull the trigger.”

However, the prosecution, Gerrie Nel, has argued that Pistorius could have tried to wake his girlfriend and usher them out of the house to safety, but instead obtained a gun and shot whoever was in the toilet, which amounts to pre-planned murder he says – an assertion Pistorius denies.