Pistorius case: Judge rules prosecutors can appeal

Pistorius case: Judge rules prosecutors can appeal

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A South African judge has ruled that prosecutors can appeal against the “culpable homicide” conviction of Paralympian athlete Oscar
Pistorius.The double amputee was jailed for five years in October for shooting dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home last year. Judge Thokozile Masipa said prosecutors could not challenge the length of the sentence given to Pistorius. Pistorius’s lawyers had opposed the appeal request. Prosecutors are seeking a murder conviction and the case will now go before South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal. They have argued that Judge Thokozile Masipa misinterpreted the law when she ruled that Pistorius did not intentionally shoot Ms Steenkamp. Judge Masipa announced 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. Judge Masipa ruled in October that Pistorius did not intend to kill “The application therefore in respect of count one is decided in favour of the applicant. “The application for leave to appeal against the sentence is dismissed.” Outlining his case on Tuesday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the sentence was “shockingly inappropriate and does not fit the crime and the accused”. The sprinter had been charged by the prosecution with the premeditated murder of Ms Steenkamp, a model and law graduate. He was also acquitted of the lesser murder charge of dolus eventualis – also known as common-law murder – by Judge Masipa, who ruled that he did not intend to kill. The prosecution had called for the maximum 15-year sentence for culpable homicide, or manslaughter. Ms Steenkamp was shot dead at Pistorius’ home in Pretoria in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last year. He said he feared there was an intruder. Pistorius is serving the sentence in the hospital wing of Pretoria’s
Kgosi Mampuru II prison. Correspondents say the appeal is likely to take place next year. -BBC

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