Pistorius: next stop, Bloemfontein

2014-12-10 10:43

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Oscar Pistorius’ next stop is Bloemfontein. Judge Thokozile Masipa today granted the state leave to appeal the athlete’s conviction of culpable homicide at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

However, Mapisa ruled that the state could not appeal Pistorius’ five-year sentence, which he is currently serving at Pretoria’s Kgosi Mampuru II prison.

Pistorius was not in the North Gauteng High Court yesterday when state advocate Gerrie Nel and his own lawyer Barry Roux presented arguments to Mapisa, nor today when she handed down her ruling.

June and Barry Steenkamp, whose daughter Reeva Pistorius was convicted of shooting dead on Valentine’s Day 2013, were also not present.

“From the outset it’s necessary for me to deal with two issues raised by the state which have the potential to lead to misperception,” Mapisa said today.

“The state argued that this case has special circumstances because of the huge public interest locally and internationally. This is not relevant and cannot determine the outcome as everyone is equal before the law and will not be treated differently.”

She added that she was not convinced there were grounds for the conversion of the sentence she handed down to Pistorius nearly 50 days ago.

But she decided the state had convinced her the grounds for an appeal of the culpable homicide conviction were based on law, not fact.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s Nathi Mncube said after Mapisa’s ruling the state was happy.

A date must now be set for a hearing in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

“We are now in the hands of the Supreme Court of Appeal. We need to consider whether we petition the court in respect of sentencing and on the count of possession of ammunition. It is in the interest of everyone involved particularly the person who has been convicted that there the matter is expedited,” Mncube added.

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