PRETORIA, September 12- The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Friday it was disappointed that it was not successful in securing a conviction on the original charge of premeditated murder against Paralympian Oscar Pistorius.
This came after the North Gauteng High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa concluded handing down her judgement in the trial of Pistorius, finding him guilty of culpable homicide but not guilty of premeditatedly murdering his girlfriend on Valentine’s night last year.
“We respect the court decision to convict the accused on culpable homicide, which is in fact a serious crime,” the NPA said in a statement.
The NPA “respects the findings of the court today. However it is important to mention that 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”, the statement said.
In her ruling, Masipa said, “The unanimous decision of this court is the following: on count one of murder, the accused is found not guilty, instead, he is found guilty of capable homicide.”
Masipa said the State failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused was guilty of premeditated murder. This was despite the judge’s earlier admission that Pistorius was a poor witness who contradicted himself.
Pistorius was also found guilty for recklessly handling a firearm in a public place but dismissed two other gun related charges.
The NPA said it will wait until the matter is concluded and will then comment on any further legal steps that might be envisaged.
“Further, NPA is satisfied with the manner in which the prosecution team prosecuted 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,” the statement said.
The court also extended the bail of Pistorius until sentencing.
Court was adjourned to October 13 for sentencing procedures.