Judge rules Oscar Pistorius not guilty of murder, but culpable homicide possible

Oscar Pistorius cleared of murder
© AFP
Judge Thokozile Masipa rules that Oscar Pistorius cannot be found guilty of murder, but culpable homicide (manslaughter) will be considered.

Oscar Pistorius has been cleared of murder, but could face a maximum prison sentence of 15 years if he is found guilty of culpable homicide.

Judge Thokozile Masipa has been delivering her verdict at the High Court in Pretoria today following the Paralympic champion's six-month murder trial.

The 27-year-old shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year through a toilet door at his home in South Africa.

Judge Masipa told the court that the state could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Pistorius was guilty of premeditated murder.

She also cleared him of second degree murder by telling the court: "The accused cannot be found guilty of murder, dolos eventualis. That, however, is not the end of the matter."

After lunch, the judge, who told the court that there is no dispute that Pistorius acted "unlawfully", will consider a charge of culpable homicide (manslaughter).

Pistorius denied murder by claiming that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired four shots through the locked door.

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius appears in Pretoria Magistrates Court for an indictment hearing on August 19, 2013
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