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Oscar Pistorius arrives in court for verdict in Reeva murder trial


September 11, 2014
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Oscar Pistorius has arrived in court to learn the court's verdict in the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. There was a scuffle as the famed Paralympian made his way into proceedings with photographers desperate to capture a shot of his day of judgement. Inside his uncle Arnold Pistorius and wife Lois handed out tissues to the nervous family members.

oscar

Oscar Pistorius struggled to maintain his composure

His brother Carl came in a wheelchair, still recovering from his recent car crash. He told CNN that it was "an honour" to be there in support of the athlete. Reeva's parents June and Barry Steenkamp had arrived an hour and a quarter early, looking grief-stricken and flanked by their own lawyer and family. As Judge Masipa began to speak Oscar struggled to retain his composure, blinking back tears before starting to weep openly. Behind him his sister Aimee was crying.

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Oscar Pistorius began to weep openly when the judge described Reeva's wounds

Experts say the judgement could go on into Friday – so the final verdict may not be delivered on Thursday.

The judge cast doubt on the reliability of the witnesses, saying some would have been woken from sleep and would have been 80 metres away when the shooting took place. "It would be unwise to rely on any evidence by the witnesses – this includes evidence called by the defence – without testing each of the claims against objective evidence," she said adding: "human beings are fallible, and their memory changes over time". Instead she planned to analyse the evidence, taking into account phone technology and phone records, she said.

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June and Barry Steenkamp arrived an hour and a quarter early looking grief-stricken

A finding of pre-meditated murder carries a sentence of life imprisonment with no possiblity of parole before 25 years. To apply this the judge must decide that there was 'malice aforethought' that is that Oscar knew that Reeva was in there and he thought about killing her when he grabbed his gun.

She could also find him guilty of murder – meaning that there was no 'malice aforethought'. He would serve 15 years for this.

The least serious of the guilty sentences is culpable homicide, which carries no minimum sentence.

The court has four verdicts open to it. Of course the runner will be hoping to be found not guilty.

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