Pretoria: A court in South Africa Thursday found paralympian Oscar Pistorius "not guilty" of premeditated murder or murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, media reported.
After the high court in Pretoria adjourned for an early lunch Judge Thokosile Masipa gave the verdict in the case relating to the incident Feb 14, 2013, in which Pistorius was accused of fatally shooting Steenkamp, a South African model, through a locked toilet at his house in Pretoria, the Independent Online reported.
Delivering her verdict, Masipa said the state could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Pistorius had directly intended to murder Steenkamp.
“The accused clearly wanted to use the firearm... (but) the intention to shoot does not include the intention to kill,” the report quoted Masipa as saying in her judgment.
Pistorius's lawyers had put forward the defence that their client intentionally fired in self-defence thinking that there was an intruder in the house.
Regarding Pistorius's credibility as a witness, Masipa said accused repeatedly said he had no time to think during his testimony, and the defence believed this raised doubt of whether he could be held criminally accountable, or whether he could understand the difference between right and wrong in his panic.
Stating that the onus of proof was on the state, Masipa said the accused could be acquitted if there was reasonable doubt over whether he was guilty.
According to the report, it was not clear whether Pistorius would face a culpable homicide conviction.
After the verdict, Pistorius was seen sobbing and hugging his siblings and other relatives in relief.