Oscar Verdict: As It Happens

Oscar Pistorius is not guilty of murder but can still be found guilty of culpable homicide. But what did the Judge really say.

On Friday 12th Sept at 9 am AFPTV will offer a live video feed of the rest of the verdict in the trial of athlete Oscar Pistorius, accused of the murder of his partner in February 2013.

Here is part one of the verdict delivered on Thursday Sept 11th…

Oscar Pistorius is not guilty of murder but can still be found guilty of culpable homicide, Judge Thokozile Masipa said in the High Court in Pretoria.

“The accused therefore cannot be found guilty of murder dolus eventualis [legal intent]… that however is not the end of the matter as culpable homicide is a competent verdict,” she said, just before adjourning for an early lunch.

And before you join the Social Media frenzy here is an extract of what she actually said:

Judge Thokozile Masipa Audio Clip

Pistorius sat in the dock weeping, shaking and clenching his jaw as Masipa read through her judgment.

Not Beyond Reasonable Doubt

“The State has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder. There are just not enough facts to support such a finding.”

Masipa said evidence for premeditated murder was “purely circumstantial”.

Pistorius’s sobs could be heard in the court following Masipa’s finding which prompted her to take an early lunch break.

Read the full story at AllAfrica….

Anatomy of A Murder Trial

But let’s recap on this drawn out trial that has attracted attention from around the world. Given the hype and emotion, the story needs context…

Thursday, February 14th 2013. It dawned bright and sunny in Cape Town, as they say in the classics. We always knew it was going to be a big news day. It was the annual State of the Nation address, colloquially known as SONA. In a country where politicians and sports stars are some of the only real “celebrities”, SONA is pretty much Oscars night for politicians.

(That’s “Oscars” as in “the Academy Awards”, to avoid confusion. At that stage we still didn’t know that Oscars night would be followed by Oscar’s year.)

Come late afternoon on SONA day, politicians from across the spectrum arrive at Cape Town’s Parliament. There they walk up a red carpet, blinged out in their finery, to take up their seats in the National Assembly. They are normally in high spirits, if sometimes made a little awkward by their fancy clothes. Even serious political journalists get to be a bit silly for a few hours, calling out requests to top-ranking government officials to pose for a photo or tell the world who made their outfit.

Media organisations tend to plough fairly major resources into coverage of SONA. There’s more to it than the red carpet, of course. There’s the minor aspect in which the President of South Africa lays out his plans for the year; his vision of where the country is going. After his address is done, when night has fallen, politicians spill out of the National Assembly to tell journalists what they thought of the speech.

As was the case at most media outlets, Daily Maverick staffers woke on February 14th ready to cover SONA as assiduously as possible. Ranjeni Munusamy, Greg Nicolson, Brooks Spector and I were all in Cape Town for the occasion, ready to go.

Early morning Twitter, however, had rumblings of a somewhat different story.

Read the full story at The Daily Maverick…

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