herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Prosecutors set to appeal against Pistorius verdict

South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority will appeal Oscar Pistorius's acquittal on murder charges and his five-year jail sentence for the conviction of manslaughter of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The NPA will today file its application to appeal, spokeswoman Bulelwa Makeke said.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel had sought a conviction for premeditated murder in the eight-month trial at the High Court in Pretoria.

"We'll be appealing the verdict and the sentence," Makeke said, declining to disclose the grounds for an appeal. "As the state, we are limited as to what we can appeal against."

manslaughter

There was a public outcry when Judge Thokozile Masipa found Pistorius not guilty of murder for killing Ms Steenkamp on Valentine's day last year. He was convicted of culpable homicide, or manslaughter.

She said there was no reason to doubt the Paralympian's claim that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and did not intend to kill anyone when he shot four times through a locked toilet door.

Anger intensified last week, including among campaigners against gender violence, when Masipa sentenced Pistorius to five years in prison, especially because he could be eligible to switch from jail to house arrest after just 10 months.

The state won't be able to present any new evidence should it again seek to have Pistorius convicted of murder, Marius du Toit, a Pretoria-based criminal-defense lawyer, said by phone.

"Whatever you argue has to be based on principles of law," Du Toit said.

The double-amputee Paralympic gold medalist, known as the Blade Runner because of his J-shaped prosthetic blades, killed Steenkamp when he fired four hollow-point bullets in his bathroom at what he said he thought was an intruder.

Nel had wanted at least 10 years for the manslaughter conviction.

hnews@herald.ie

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