Former Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius was found guilty in the murder of girlfriend and model Reeva Steenkamp on December 2nd in Johannesburg. Pistorius, the first paralympic athlete to participate in the Olympic games, shot his girlfriend in February 2013 when he thought an intruder had entered his house.
Pistorius was originally found guilty of culpable homicide in September 2014 and was originally sentenced to five years. He spent last year on house arrest as part of his original sentence. But, South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the lower court did not correctly apply the rule of dolus eventualis – whether Pistorius knew that a death would be a likely result of his action according to CNN.
According to Pistorius’ testimony, he assumed Steenkamp was an intruder and opened fire through his bathroom door. The South African court has yet to determine his sentence, but the law states it will be a minimum of 15 years behind bars. According to CNN, Steenkamp’s family remained stone-faced during the trial.
The entire event in and of itself is a tragedy for both parties involved. Pistorius lost not only his life and his freedom but his love. The Steenkamp’s lost their beloved daughter and have to continue to live with the consequences every day. Lobbyists have been concerned with gun sales in South Africa after the incident.
Pistorius’ side argued whether his act of self-defense was justifiable or not, and Supreme Judge Leach was very wary.
It was “common sense” that Pistorius must have known he was carrying out a potentially lethal act that “gambled with life” when he fired his gun through the closed toilet door, he said.
“All the shots fired through the door would almost inevitably have struck the person behind it. There would be effectively no place to hide,” Leach said.
According to BBC, Pistorius can challenge the ruling in the constitutional court but only if his lawyers can argue that his constitutional rights have been violated. This seems unlikely, but maybe Pistorius will wait out to see his sentence before appealing. The double amputee was released from house arrest on October 19th under “correctional supervision.”
Prosecutors have yet to set the date for Pistorius’ sentence, but it is expected to happen before the new year. Worth noting also is that no arrest warrant has been placed on Pistorius as of yet.