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Oscar Pistorius found guilty of the manslaughter of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Athlete Oscar Pistorius cleared on two murder charges

By Ryan Hooper

Shamed athlete Oscar Pistorius has been released on bail after being found guilty of the manslaughter of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at a court in South Africa.

Judge Thokozile Masipa turned down an application by the prosecutors to refuse bail.

Pistorius could face jail after the judge said the double-amputee Olympian, known as Blade Runner, was "negligent" when he killed law graduate-turned-model Ms Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day 2013.

The 400m specialist always admitted being responsible for her death at his home in Pretoria, but said he mistook his partner for intruders and fired four bullets from his 9mm pistol through the toilet cubicle.

The judge yesterday dismissed prosecution claims that the double-amputee intentionally killed the 29-year-old, saying Pistorius could not be convicted of either pre-meditated or second-degree murder.

But she returned to court this morning to convict him of culpable homicide - the South African equivalent of the UK's manslaughter charge - and one gun charge relating to a restaurant shooting.

During a bail hearing after the verdicts, Pistorius' counsel Barry Roux said his client had complied with previous bail conditions and that there was no reason to remand him into custody ahead of sentencing.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said he disagreed, due to the seriousness of the nature and that a custodial sentence was "probable". He also cited a recent nightclub fracas involving Pistorius and suggestions that the athlete had previously been suicidal.

Mr Roux said the defence disputed the facts of the nightclub incident, and dismissed any suicidal thoughts his client may have.

Judge Masipa said: "I have considered these submissions by counsel.

"The onus is on the state to persuade that it is not in the interests of justice that the bail is extended.

"I grant the application to extend the bail on the same conditions."

Pistorius will stay with his uncle in Pretoria, where he has lived for the last 18 months since the shooting.

 

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