Story highlights

Oscar Pistorius shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp four times in 2013

Judge: Circumstances surrounding death "a human tragedy of Shakespearean proportions"

His jail term hasn't been decided, but he faces 15 years in prison

CNN —  

Oscar Pistorius was back in court Tuesday where a judge granted him bail.

Judge Eric Leach ruled Thursday that the Paralympic gold medalist should have foreseen that his firing of a gun would have killed whoever was behind the door in his bathroom, regardless of whether he thought it was Steenkamp or an intruder.

State prosecutors appealed the verdict of culpable homicide, seeking a conviction on more severe charges.

The original court judgment had been “fundamentally flawed,” Leach said.

His jail term hasn’t been decided, but he faces up to 15 years in prison.

June Steenkamp, left, mother of Reeva Steenkamp, is comforted during proceedings.
Johan Pretorius/AP
June Steenkamp, left, mother of Reeva Steenkamp, is comforted during proceedings.

His jail term hasn’t been decided, but he faces up to 15 years in prison.

In October, Pistorius was allowed to move from prison, where he served a year of his original five-year sentence, to house detention.

Steenkamp’s family members were present for Thursday’s proceedings, remaining stony-faced throughout but hugging after hearing the verdict.

’Tragedy of Shakespearean proportions’

The judge called the circumstances surrounding Steenkamp’s death “a human tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.”

The ruling rested over the concept of dolus eventualis, or whether Pistorius should have foreseen his actions would lead to death.

Leach slammed the original judge’s failure to assess adequately ballistic evidence that showed Pistorius’ firing in to the bathroom stall would have resulted in the person inside being struck.

It was “common sense” that Pistorius must have known he was carrying out a potentially lethal act that “gambled with life” when he fired his gun through the closed toilet door, he said.

“All the shots fired through the door would almost inevitably have struck the person behind it. There would be effectively no place to hide,” Leach said.

He called Pistorius’ testimony about his actions “unacceptable,” “vacillating” and “contradictory.”