South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal has strongly criticized trial judge Thokozile Masipa for “ignoring" key evidence and for “fundamental" errors during last year’s Oscar Pistorius – Reeva Steenkamp trial. Judge Eric Leach added a new twist to the trial by invalidating Masipa’s original verdict and replaced it with murder. The verdict may lead to Pistorius being sent to prison for 15 years. However, his lawyers might argue that his physical disability should be considered in the court’s decision.

According to ABC News, the original ruling stated that the Paralympic “Blade Runner” Pistorius did not foresee his firing four shots on Valentine’s Day 2013, through a locked toilet door that had his girlfriend Steenkamp in it, could kill her. As per Judge Leach, this case is a “human tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.” He added that Masipa ignored evidence from a report by ballistics expert Chris Mangena.

Pistorius had earlier denied killing Steenkamp and said that he mistook her to be an intruder. State prosecutors are however of the opinion that a heated argument between the two forced Steenkamp to run and hide inside the toilet when Pistorius mercilessly fired four fatal shots through the bathroom door, killing her, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

“As a matter of common sense, at the time the fatal shots were fired, the possibility of the death of the person behind the door was clearly an obvious result,” Judge Leach said.

Right after the verdict, Steenkamp’s mother June left the courtroom with a red rose in her hand and crying. She had earlier said that she is not looking for retribution. Steenkamp’s father Barry welcomed the verdict with a sigh of relief and later broke down into tears.

“If you took note of what I've said right from the beginning, it's not over yet, it's not over yet ... it's over now. For us as a family, we can get on with our lives now and I hope his family can get on with their lives now,” Steenkamp’s father told South Africa-based News24.

Pistorius’ family spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess said that the family would wait for lawyer’s advice and take action accordingly.

Members of the ruling African National Congress party's Women's League attended the court sessions to show their solidarity with the Steenkamp family and also in support of women’s rights.

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