South African judge clears Pistorius of premeditated murder




 
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September 11th, 2014  
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Topic: South African judge clears Pistorius of premeditated murder


By Stella Mapenzauswa PRETORIA (Reuters) - A South African judge cleared Oscar Pistorius of premeditated murder on Thursday, saying prosecutors had failed to prove the Olympic and Paralympic track star explicitly intended to kill his girlfriend on Valentine's Day last year. Although she described the 27-year-old as a "very poor" and "evasive" witness, judge Thokozile Masipa said this did not mean the track star was necessary guilty in a case that she said was based entirely on circumstantial evidence. "The state has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder," Masipa told the Pretoria High Court. "There are just not enough facts to support such a finding." The decision will be a relief to Pistorius, who would have faced a mandatory life sentence - effectively 25 years before parole - but he could still be convicted of a lesser murder charge, or culpable homicide, both of which could carry lengthy jail terms.




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