Oscar Pistorius trial: Runner could hear fate in six weeks – but what verdicts does he face?

Oscar Pistorius’ defence closed their case this morning and now the trial has been adjourned until 7 August, when they will return, with the state, to deliver their closing arguments.


by Ellie Henman |
Published on

Pistorius faces a possible 25 year prison sentence if he is found guilty of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The model was killed on Valentine’s day last year.

The state claim the runner killed Reeva in a fit of rage.

However Pistorius’ defence have argued her death was an accident, claiming the 27-year-old killed Reeva, 29, after mistaking her for an intruder, who was hiding in the toilet.

When the closing statements are given, the judge, Thokozile Masipa, is expected to take around a fortnight to deliver a verdict.

The state argue Pistorius killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, after an argument - which he denies
The state argue Pistorius killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, after an argument - which he denies

When the judge retires, it’s thought there are four possible verdicts she will consider.

Pistorius is charged with premeditated murder – to which he has pleaded not guilty.

This is the most serious verdict and carries a jail sentence of up to 25 years.

READ: Court hears newborn baby beaten to death with a shoe by mum's boyfriend

To find him guilty of this charge, the judge will decide whether there was ‘malice afterthought’, meaning Pistorius knew Reeva was in the bathroom and had consider killing her before doing so.

However the judge could find Pistorius guilty of murder – meaning he had intended to kill whoever he believed to be behind the door but there was no prior intention of doing so.

Pistorius praying in court with his brother, Carl, and sister, Aimee

So the crime would have been a crime of passion, rather than one that was planned or considered prior to it happening.

But there is a chance the judge could deliver a verdict of culpable homicide, which would mean Pistorius shot at the door, as a reaction to the situation – believing their was an intruder behind the door – without knowing who was in the bathroom.

READ: New twist in case of British family murdered in French alps

Previously, the court heard how Pistorius was worried about crime, with a tweet from the athlete saying how he’d gone into ‘combat mode’ after hearing the washing machine.

And although Pistorius could be found not guilty of the above, he still faces jail over three firearms charges, which carry sentences ranging from 5 to 15 years.

We will keep you updated as the trial continues.

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