Possible outcomes for Oscar trial

Johannesburg - At the closing arguments for the murder trial of Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius finished up on Friday, ending six months of, at times, gripping courtroom drama that transfixed millions around the world.

Judge Thokozile Masipa now retires with her two assessors, to review more than 4 000 pages of evidence before arriving at a decision on the central charge of premeditated murder. The verdict could still be many weeks away.

Legal experts say much will hinge on Masipa's view as to the credibility of Pistorius's testimony.

The 27-year-old athlete endured a torrid week on the stand during which he broke down frequently and gave conflicting versions of the moment he fired four shots through a locked toilet door, saying it was both deliberate and accidental.

He has denied murder, saying he believed an intruder was hiding behind the door.

The State says he intended to kill Steenkamp, who took refuge in the toilet after a row in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

No date has been set for the verdict.

Following are possible outcomes:

If convicted of premeditated murder, Pistorius faces a mandatory life sentence, meaning he will be behind bars for 25 years before he can be considered for parole.

Masipa can also convict Pistorius of murder but without explicit premeditation, a lesser crime that still carries up to 20 years in jail. The sentence can be reduced on presentation of "substantial and compelling" circumstances.

If Masipa is not convinced of Pistorius's intent to kill, he could still be jailed for culpable homicide based on negligent or reckless discharge of his 9mm pistol into the toilet door.

Culpable homicide carries a maximum of 15 years behind bars.

Alternatively, Masipa could accept Pistorius's primary argument of “putative self-defence” - meaning that he fired into the door because he genuinely believed his life to be in danger from a perceived intruder - and acquit him.

In addition to the murder charge, Pistorius is accused of three lesser weapons offences: One count of illegal possession of ammunition and two counts of discharging a firearm in a public place.

These charges carry up to five years in prison, although in most instances are punishable by a fine.

Brendon Lezar 2014/08/09 05:35:36 AM
Anything less than a 20+ year conviction will potentially set a terrifying precedent resulting in other people who struggle to control their temper thinking that they too could get away with murder.
Adrianh 2014/08/09 05:35:54 AM
There is no excuse for what he did. Throw him in a dungeon and toss away the key.
IzakNieuwoudt 2014/08/09 06:03:24 AM
At least reread and update your pre written articles News24. A verdict date has been set for 9/11 (o the irony).
IzakNieuwoudt 2014/08/09 06:10:13 AM
Di the State proof premeditated murder? Probably no. Did the Defence proof accidental shooting in self defence. Probably no. Don't envy the Judge her decision.
Schulla 2014/08/09 06:17:43 AM
I just want to say that I feel sorry for all your Oscar haters out there. It is not your fault. Nel fed you lies for more than a year and now that he was exposed for the FRAUD he is it will be difficult for you all to see it and to believe it that is just normal. Oscar is the one wronged here,Oscar like every one in the world have the right to a fair trial and NEL made sure that it will not happen. Why? I don't know but like all things we will know one day Oscar and the Steenkamp family are wronged. Reeva lost her life through a man that believed he was protecting her and worse of all, the Steenkamps had lived for more than a year with the nightmare that there daughter was murdered in cold blood is nothing than just cruel. I also once shoot at an intruder in my house nearly 16 years ago and I shot more than 4 times and believe me the amount of shots make no difference if you believe you are in danger you will kill an intruder you will not try to find out where he is. So many of you believe that the 4 shots means murder but it does not. So many of you believe that you are not aloud to shoot a person behind a close door, you are mistaken . You have all the rights in the world to kill an intruder in your house no matter behind how many doors he is hiding. he is not suppose to be be there in the first place. I hope in time you all will find peace in your harts and that the hate and bitterness will leave you.
peter.missing 2014/08/09 06:38:06 AM
I don't think there is any precedent setting involved. It happens every other day that if an accused cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt to have acted with intent, that a lesser charge must be the default. He cannot get the max for social reasons or for avoiding the implications, he must be judged on the merits of his case. I remain unconvinced that the state has convinced the court or that they ever could. Nel was effective, but used psychological badgering that the judge, if she is worth her oats, must be able to see through. I still find it incredulous that OP planned and cold-heartedly executed a plan to kill RS. It makes no sense, not at all. He could have been so much more subtle, used third parties, thought it through, whatever. It does not make sense and it does not fit his profile as well as impulsiveness does.
Peter McNamara 2014/08/09 07:17:29 AM
If ur life is endangered buy someone in the bathroom being and intruder, u got a passage and a cellphone , sit at the end of the passage phone in to security or push panic button and wait . If ur girlfriend stay at ur house why would she look the door when going to the bathroom . I Say Oscar tried to break down the door before he shot through it.
Finya Ngendololwane 2014/08/09 07:21:04 AM
western girls must go back to their chaperone culture, their roots. It was such a nice preventative institution and maybe we wouldn't be posting about her murder
Isaiah Tshoenyana 2014/08/09 07:30:42 AM
I believe when u are scared and frightened, and feeling that your life is in danger, in your own house, u will do anything to protect your life.....He was just unfortunate that the person he thought was an intruder, shot and killed, was his loving partner.....Unfortunately he is the only person who knows what happened that night...and if his version is true, then i feel sorry for him..As for the Steenkamp family, its hard to forget, but they need to forgive him.
Steven Skill 2014/08/09 08:03:24 AM
He deserves jail