SOUTH Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal has found Oscar Pistorius guilty of murder, accepting the state’s appeal to change the previous culpable homicide verdict.
Judge Leach overturned the previous Supreme Court conviction of culpable manslaughter.
He found Judge Masipa had made legal “errors” but said she conducted the trial with “dignity and patience”.
Pistorius, who is currently living under house arrest, must return for sentencing.
The star Paralympic sprinter was found guilty in 2014 of the lesser crime of culpable homicide -— the equivalent of manslaughter — for shooting dead Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013.
Pistorius claimed he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he opened fire with his pistol, was released from prison on parole in October after serving one year of his five-year sentence.
“There is a real prospect that the court might set aside the culpable homicide conviction and replace it with murder,” criminal lawyer Rudi Krause told AFP.
“In that case, the appeal court will then send the matter back to the trial court for sentencing.”
At the crux of the case was how trial judge Thokozile Masipa interpreted the principle of “dolus eventualis” — awareness of the likely outcome of an action — under which she acquitted Pistorius of murder.
During a one-day hearing at the appeal court in November, state prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued that Pistorius intended to kill whoever was behind the locked toilet door through which he fired four bullets.
Pistorius was released on October 19 to spend the remainder of his sentence under house arrest at his uncle’s mansion in the capital Pretoria.
Credit: Network Writers and Wires, NCA
Edited by: Valentine Ohu