“I am not persuaded that a reasonable person … would have fired four shots into a toilet cubicle,” Judge Thokozile Masipa said in the high court in Pretoria on Thursday.
Masipa said that a reasonable person would have foreseen that the person inside the cubicle could have died. “He chose to use a firearm,” she said. “I am of the view that the accused acted too hastily.”
Oscar Pistorius was negligent when he fired four shots into a toilet cubicle that killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, Masipa said. “In the circumstances it is clear that his conduct was negligent.” She also said he used excessive force.
Earlier, Masipa said that the state had failed to prove that Oscar Pistorius was guilty of premeditated murder when he shot and killed Steenkamp last year.
“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, as Pistorius sobbed.
“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,” she said.
Masipa found that Pistorius was a “very poor witness” and contradicted himself on the stand.
“During his evidence, he seemed composed and logical … [but] under cross-examination, he lost his composure … [and it seemed] the accused was suffering by enormous emotional stress and was traumatised by reliving the incident,” she said.
“The accused was, among other things, an evasive witness.”
Pistorius, the double-amputee who became one of the biggest names in athletics, shot dead his model and law graduate girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year.
Masipa adjourned the reading of her verdict until 7.30am on Friday. – Sapa