Key quotes from the Oscar Pistorius ruling

Judge Thokozile Masipa on Thursday started handing down judgement in the trial of Oscar Pistorius, finding him not guilty of murder, but leaving the door open for a conviction on manslaughter.  

Here are some key quotes from the judge so far:   

On the state’s case: 

“The state clearly has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder.” 

“Viewed in its totality, the evidence failed to establish that the accused had the requisite intention to kill the deceased, let alone with premeditation.” 


“The accused therefore cannot be found guilty of murder.” 

“The intention to shoot, however, does not necessarily include the intention to kill.” 

“Clearly he did not objectively foresee this as a possibility that he would kill the person behind the door.”   

On Pistorius’s actions: 

“The accused had reasonable time to reflect, to think and conduct himself reasonably.” 

“The accused acted too hastily and used excessive force.” 

“It is clear that his conduct was negligent.” 

“He took a conscious decision: he knew where he kept his firearm and he knew where his bathroom was. This is inconsistent with lack of criminal capacity.” 

“I am not persuaded that a reasonable person with the accused’s disabilities in the same circumstances would have fired four shots into that small toilet cubicle.” 

“The accused knew there was a person behind the toilet door, he chose to use a firearm, which was [a] lethal weapon, he was competent in the use of firearms.” 

“A reasonable person with the accused’s disability and in his position would have foreseen that if he fired shots at the door, the person inside the toilet might be struck and might die as a result.”   

On the defence’s argument about Pistorius’s vulnerability: 

“Vulnerability is not unique.” 

“There are many people in this country without any form of security at all.” 

“Many people in this country had experienced crime… many have been victims of violent crimes, but they have not resorted to sleeping with firearms under their pillow.”   

On Pistorius’s own testimony: 

“The accused was a very poor witness.” 

“The accused was, amongst other things, an evasive witness.” 

“He failed to listen properly to questions put to him under cross-examination, giving the impression that he was more worried by the impact his answers might cause rather than the questions asked.” 

“Often a question requiring a straightforward answer turned into a debate about what another witness did or said.”    

On neighbour’s testimony: 

“Most witnesses had their facts wrong. I am of the view that they failed to separate what they knew personally or what they heard from other people or what they gathered from the media.”   

On Pistorius and Steenkamp’s relationship: 

“Neither the evidence of the loving relationship or a relationship turned sour can assist this court to determine whether the accused had the requisite intention to kill the deceased.” – AFP

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