The double amputee instead could serve as little as three years behind bars, or even a lengthy house arrest, after Judge Thokozile Masipa said she would not return a verdict of murder or premeditated murder.
Masipa stopped short of delivering her final verdict, adjourning proceedings until Friday. But Pretoria-based criminal defense lawyer Marius du Toit told NBC News the judge made clear that her intention was to convict Pistorius of culpable homicide, a charge similar to manslaughter in the United States.
The door was still open for the prosecution to appeal to try to make the murder charge stick. But were it to remain, a culpable homicide conviction carries a minimum five-year sentence. This means Pistorius could be out on parole in three years on good behavior.
“Pistorius is now in the zone where he is very comfortable that he has been convicted of this,” du Toit told NBC News. “Obviously he could have been acquitted entirely, but he was charged with murdering his girlfriend, carrying a minimum 25-year sentence, and now we know it was a terrible, terrible accident.”
Du Toit acknowledged that some would refuse to accept the verdict, but he said the outcome would “really change Pistorius’ public perception. I do not know if he will be able to compete athletically after this, but there might be a life for him after all this is over,” he added.
Even if Pistorius is imprisoned, his jail time could be converted into a house arrest with added conditions such as a ban on drinking alcohol, according to South African criminologist Laurie Pieters. Pieters said she expected state prosecutors to appeal.
The judge’s decision not to convict Pistorius of murder came amid a day of high drama at the court in Pretoria, South Africa. According to du Toit, the prosecution case of premeditated murder fell apart for two reasons.
First, the judge said most of the witnesses “got their facts wrong” and their testimony did not match the timings of phone calls made on the night of the killing.
Second, despite describing Pistorius as “a very poor witness,” the judge could not say with certainty that his version of events was untrue.
Comment here !
By OLEKSANDR STASHEVSKYI and CIARAN McQUILLAN, KYIV, Ukraine (AP):- The fate of hundreds of Ukrainian fighters who surrendered after holding
By JAKE COYLE, CANNES, France (AP):- Tom Cruise mania descended Wednesday in Cannes where the actor made a whirlwind appearance
By OLEKSANDR STASHEVSKYI and CIARAN McQUILLAN, KYIV, Ukraine (AP):- The battle that turned Mariupol into a worldwide symbol of defiance
Los Angeles, (PTI):- The fourth season of HBO’s popular sci-fi series “Westworld” will premiere on June 26. The new season’s