Grounds for appeal

2014-09-12 00:00

THE state will have to wait until after the final verdict in Oscar Pistorius’s case before it decides whether there are legal grounds to appeal.

Advocate Johann Engelbrecht SC said it would be contemptuous of Judge Thokozile Masipa if the state indicated before her final verdict if it plans to appeal against her interpretation of murder dolus eventualis.

The state cannot appeal on the facts of the case, but only on legal grounds.

“This means that the state must make a strong case that the judge made an error in the law. There must be a chance that another judge could reach another verdict,” Engelbrecht said .

Former deputy head of the National Prosecuting Authority, advocate Jan Henning SC, said Masipa’s analysis of dolus eventualis did create legal grounds for the state on which prosecutor advocate Gerrie Nel can apply for leave to appeal.

Attorney Wessie Wessels said he had no doubt Masipa’s interpretation of the legal principle of intent with a total disregard for the likely outcome creates a strong case for the state to appeal on legal ground.

Dr Llewelyn Curlewis, president of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces, said Pistorius’s legal team would have to carefully consider appealing a possible final verdict of culpable homicide.

“If Pistorius appeals, I am convinced Nel will immediately file for a cross-appeal,” Curlewis said.

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