Oscar Pistorius pleads not guilty in South Africa’s first televised trial

Oscar Pistorius with his girlfriend before her death

Oscar Pistorius has pleaded not guilty this morning to murdering his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year, at the start of the Olympian’s televised murder trial in North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa.

The trial itself started 90 minutes late, because a language interpreter who was required for the first witness had to be located.

Pistorius pleaded not guilty to murder, two charges relating to discharging of a firearm in a public place and one charge of illegal possession of ammunition.

The double-amputee athlete, known as the “Blade Runner”, is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was 29.

Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp by accident, thinking she was an intruder inside his bathroom.

If convicted on the murder charge, Pistorius could be sent to prison for at least 25 years before the chance of parole, the minimum time someone must serve if given a life sentence in South Africa. South Africa does not have the death penalty.

A lesser sentence is possible if Pistorius is found guilty of murder without premeditation. He could also be convicted of culpable homicide, South Africa’s version of manslaughter where the victim is killed through negligence.

The additional firearms charges relate to him allegedly shooting out of the sunroof of a car in one incident and another when he allegedly fired a gun inside a restaurant, apparently by mistake.

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