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Read the full judgment: Oscar Pistorius How dolus eventualis error of law applied



Summary:
Criminal Law and Procedure - appeal under s 319 of Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 - conviction on a competent verdict to be regarded as an acquittal on the main count and does not debar an appeal on a question of law reserved.

Legal intention in the form of dolus eventualis - trial court incorrectly applying the principles thereof - constitutes an error of law.

Inference of fact to be drawn from the totality of the evidence - trial court not taking all the relevant evidence into account in determining the presence or otherwise of dolus eventualis - this also constitutes an error of law.

On a proper conspectus of all the evidence, the trial court ought to have found that the accused had been guilty of murder and not culpable homicide, and that his defence of putative private defence could not be sustained. Conviction of culpable homicide and the sentence imposed for that offence set aside under s 322 of CPA and the matter remitted to the trial court to impose sentence afresh.

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