Court to rule on Oscar appeal

2014-12-08 21:19
Judge Thokozile Masipa  (Phill Magakoe, Independent Newspapers, Pool)

Judge Thokozile Masipa (Phill Magakoe, Independent Newspapers, Pool)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - Judge Thokozile Masipa will rule on Tuesday on whether to grant a State appeal that would open the way for Oscar Pistorius to serve more time behind bars for shooting his girlfriend.

Prosecution lawyers applied for an appeal after Masipa in October sentenced the Paralympic gold medallist to five years in jail after a trial that attracted worldwide interest.

The judge found him guilty of culpable homicide, rather than a more serious charge of murdering Reeva Steenkamp.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued in appeal papers filed last month that Judge Masipa misinterpreted the law when she ruled Pistorius did not intentionally shoot Steenkamp, describing the sentence as "shockingly light" and "inappropriate”.

Pistorius can qualify for house arrest after serving one sixth of his sentence - 10 months - behind bars, which would mean he could serve the majority of his sentence outside prison walls.

Should Masipa grant the appeal, the case will be heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

Pistorius admits shooting Steenkamp four times through a locked toilet door on Valentine's Day 2013.

But the judge may not necessarily grant the appeal, siding with defence lawyers representing the athlete who say her interpretation of the law was correct.

If Masipa refuses to grant the appeal, the State can petition the decision.

"I honestly don't think that Masipa would refuse leave to appeal, there's just too much controversy about the judgement," said Martin Hood, a criminal lawyer based in Johannesburg.

"It doesn't matter what the outcome of the appeal is, if the appeal is allowed then other judges will be able to comment on the decision, and that's critical," said Hood, who has been following the Pistorius case throughout the year.

'Effective legal system'

Hood said that with the decision by the Western Cape High Court on Monday to throw out the Shrien Dewani’s murder case, South African courts need to demonstrate they are rigorous and fair.

"From a perception point of view, both public and internationally, we need to tell everybody that we have a robust and effective legal system."

Pistorius, who celebrated his 28th birthday last month, has been serving his sentence in a Pretoria prison.

"He's encountering many beautiful stories from prisoners. There are people there who have committed crimes but whose lives have changed," said his older brother Carl, in an interview with YOU.

Pistorius has been accused of receiving special treatment in one of the most notoriously corrupt prisons, where there is frequent reports of inmates using cellphones and even drinking alcohol behind bars.

Yet Carl dismissed claims his brother is living the good life, saying Pistorius relies on weekly 45-minute visits with his family to leave cash at the canteen so he can supplement his standard prison diet with snacks, including baked beans and canned pilchards.

"He now lives moment by moment," said Carl. "There's no fairy tale."

Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  thokozile masipa  |  pretoria  |  pistorius trial  |  crime

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE:

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
22 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.