South Africans Split On Pistorius Verdict

The Judge Reaches Her Verdict In The Trial Of Oscar PistoriusHigh Court Judge, Thokozile Masipa, has triggered strong reactions in South Africa over her verdict that Pistorius was not guilty of premeditated murder.

In some of the reactions, a woman who had hoped that the judge give murder verdict said: “Oscar must go to jail. What he did was wrong, so if you are wrong you must be punished so that you can learn that wrong is wrong right is right,” Kensani Mutele one of the women who picketed in front of court told DW. She was supporting a harsher sentence for Pistorius.

Mutele’s reaction followed one of the most publicized trials in democratic South Africa. Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympics sprinter who came to be known as the ‘blade runner’ was found not guilty of premeditated murder. Judge Thokozile Masipa said although Pistorius had no intention of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, he was negligent in shooting without considering other less lethal options.

Elizabeth Thabete could not hide her disappointment with judge Masipa’s verdict. “Now what must we do women? What must we do because of men,” Thabete posed, “Men kill women so we are tired. The man who killed a woman must rot in jail.”

In an interview with DW, David Dadic, a legal expert and owner of Dadic attorneys said he believes judge Masipa may have erred in her judgment. “I don’t think there was any direct intention to kill Reeva on the evidence in my mind,” Dadic said, “Where I do think she (the judge) erred is that she said there was no intention to kill, irrespective of who the victim is.”

Judge Masipa said the prosecution had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused was guilty of premeditated murder.

“This court does not support the state contention that this could be a case of ‘dolus eventualis’ (legal intent),” the judge said. “On the contrary the evidence shows that from the onset the accused believed that at the time that he fired shots into the toilet door, the deceased was in the bedroom while the intruders were in the toilet.”

During the trial, judge Masipa admitted that Pistorius was a poor witness who contradicted himself. Lena Von Brandis, a supporter of Pistorius, said the judge’s verdict on the murder charge was good news. “I believe he is innocent and not guilty,” von Brandis told DW.

“He has always been my hero and I believe he is innocent. My wish is that he will just calm down, be himself, not stress just God is with him.”

Lawyer Dadic said he expected the prosecution to challenge the verdict. “A lot of legal minds, and I think even Gerrie Nel (State Prosecutor) might appeal the judgment.”

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