Oscar Pistorius case: Judge Masipa delays appeal ruling

Oscar Pistorius case Judge Masipa delays appeal ruling

A South African judge has delayed to Wednesday her ruling on whether prosecutors can appeal against what they call the “shockingly light” sentence passed on Oscar Pistorius.

The Paralympian athlete was jailed for five years in October for the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he killed last year.

Prosecutors also want to challenge Pistorius’ acquittal on murder charges.

His lawyers opposed the appeal request and said the sentence was not lenient.

The double-amputee sprinter had been charged by the prosecution with the pre-meditated murder of Ms Steenkamp, a model and law graduate.

He was also acquitted of the lesser murder charge of dolus eventualis by High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa.

In South African law, this charge – also known as common-law murder – applies if the accused knew they might kill someone but still went ahead with their course of action.

Judge Masipa said she would rule on Wednesday whether the prosecution’s appeal could go ahead.

 Reeva Steenkamp had been going out with Pistorius for three months before the fatal shooting

Pistorius was not in court on Tuesday when prosecutor Gerrie Nel outlined his case.

The prosecutor told Judge Masipa she had misinterpreted the law when she acquitted Pistorius of murder, and sentenced him to five years in prison.

“The precedent set by this court is shockingly low,” Mr Nel said.

However, Pistorius’ legal team argued that the prosecution’s case was flawed and the judge had correctly applied the law.

‘Horrendous’

“It’s incorrect to say it’s a light sentence. It’s not,” defence lawyer Barry Roux said.

Addressing the judge, he added: “Their problem is they don’t like your factual finding. They don’t appreciate that. You absolutely, correctly applied the law.”

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30389484

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