Oscar judge rules out pre-meditated murder

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Pretoria – The State has failed to prove that Oscar Pistorius committed premeditated murder, Judge Thokozile Masipa said on Thursday.The evidence for premeditated murder was “purely circumstantial”, she said in the North Gauteng High Court.

“I am here talking about direct intention. The State has clearly not proven beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder.”

Masipa also said that Pistorius could distinguish between right and wrong when he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

“This court is satisfied that at the relevant time the accused could distinguish between right and wrong and that he could act accordingly,” she said.

Masipa, dealing with his criminal capacity, said the defence argued that Pistorius had the intention to shoot to protect himself. She said the arguments by the defence showed that the court was dealing with a “plethora of defences”.

She said the court had to determine if Pistorius lacked criminal capacity and if he diminished his criminal capacity when Steenkamp was shot at his Pretoria home on 13 February, last year.

Pistorius repeatedly told the court that he had no time to think before he fired shots, and this raised the doubt on whether the accused could be held criminally accountable, said Masipa.

She said the defence argued that this was temporary non-pathological criminal capacity and in support of their defence that Pistorius suffered from general anxiety disorder.

Pistorius was sent for psychiatric observation by three psychiatrists and a psychologist.

Psychiatrists compiled a joint report and said that at the time of the alleged offences the accused did not suffer from an disorder that affected his criminal capacity.

“Mr Pistorius did not suffer from a mental illness that would have rendered him criminally not responsible,” she said.

“He was capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act.”

Both state and defence counsel stated that they accepted the findings, she said.

SAPA / News24

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