South Africa Prosecutors Win Bid To Appeal Against Oscar Pistorius

South Africa Prosecutors Win Bid To Appeal Against Oscar Pistorius

From BBC News

A South African judge has ruled that prosecutors can appeal against the acquittal on murder charges of Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius.

The double amputee was jailed for five years in October for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said prosecutors could appeal against the acquittal, but not the five-year sentence given for the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

Pistorius’ lawyers had opposed the appeal request.

The case will now go before South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal.

Prosecutors argued that Judge Masipa misinterpreted the law when she cleared Pistorius of murder on the basis that he did not intentionally shoot Ms Steenkamp.

Judge Masipa granted the appeal in the ruling in a Pretoria court on Wednesday.

“I cannot say… that the prospect of success at the Supreme Court of Appeal is remote,” she said.

Oscar Pistorius was not in court for the hearing

“The application therefore in respect of count one is decided in favour of the applicant.”

However, Judge Masipa dismissed the prosecution’s argument that the sentence should be reviewed because Ms Steenkamp’s parents had been extremely dissatisfied with it.

She also said the public interest in the case was “irrelevant” and she had ruled only on the basis of the prosecutors’ case.

Today was a big win for the state prosecutors. Although they lost their bid on the sentence, Judge Thokozile Masipa gave the go-ahead for them to appeal the conviction. This was always Gerrie Nel’s main intention.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) will now decide if the principles of law were applied correctly.

A panel of up to five judges has the power to not only overturn Judge Masipa’s conviction but can also rule on a minimum sentence – which in the case of murder would be 15 years in prison.

Read more at BBC News