Pretoria – The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it is disappointed that it could not secure a conviction on the original charge of premeditated murder, negligent discharge of a firearm and possession of ammunition in the Oscar Pistorius trial.
“From the very beginning, the prosecutors held the view that there was sufficient evidence to secure a successful prosecution on the charges that were preferred against the accused,” NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said on Friday.
The 27-year-old runner told the court that he thought Reeva Steenkamp, his then girlfriend, was an intruder when he shot four times through a closed bathroom door at his Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day last year.
The State had argued that Pistorius and Steenkamp fought during the night before, therefore it was premeditated murder.
In her ruling on Friday, Judge Thokozile Masipa instead found the Paralympian guilty of culpable homicide.
She also found Pistorius guilty of reckless endangerment of people and property after a gunshot went off in a restaurant.
Pistorius was initially charged with premeditated murder and three additional charges relating to the incident, which include the unlawful possession of ammunition and contraventions of the Firearms Control Act.
The NPA said it respects the findings.
“Culpable homicide is also a serious crime,” said Mncube.
He said the NPA will wait until the matter is concluded and will then comment on any further legal steps that might be envisaged.
Masipa, who started handing down judgment on Thursday morning, ruled out the convictions of murder and attempted murder. She said the State had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Pistorius intended to kill Steenkamp.
Pistorius is currently out on extended bail and will be back in court for sentencing on 13 October.
Mapisa ruled that he is neither a flight nor suicide risk when extending his bail.
Mncube said the NPA is satisfied with the manner in which the prosecution team handled the case.
“They displayed the highest degree of professionalism and their ethical conduct could not be faulted throughout the trial. They have served as good ambassadors for the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa and the fight for justice,” he said.