State urged to appeal Pistorius ruling

2014-09-14 07:29
Oscar Pistorius leaves the North Gauteng High Court after being found guilty of culpable homicide. (Jerome Delay, AP)

Oscar Pistorius leaves the North Gauteng High Court after being found guilty of culpable homicide. (Jerome Delay, AP)

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Oscar trial: appeal can only happen after sentencing

2014-09-12 14:27

Appeals in the Oscar Pistorius trial can only occur after sentencing. Criminal law expert William Booth unpacks what will happen next for Oscar Pistorius.WATCH

Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius's escape from a murder charge might be short-lived as a growing number of legal experts believe the State will appeal Judge Thokozile Masipa’s judgment.

According to the Sunday Times, Advocate Mannie Witz, a leading criminal law expert, said the State needs to appeal the conviction, stating that Masipa’s judgment needs to be considered by a senior bench to provide clarity for South African courts.

He said only the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein could provide this.

Culpable homicide conviction

Masipa on Friday ruled that Pistorius, who shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a locked toilet door of his Pretoria home on 14 February last year, was not guilty of murder but guilty of culpable homicide.

James Grant, professor of criminal law at the University of the Witwatersrand, said he thought State prosecutor Gerrie Nel would appeal as “Nel is under a duty to see that justice is done”.

The National Prosecuting Authority has said it would only announce its intentions regarding an appeal after Pistorius has been sentenced.

However, the Sunday Times reports that the prospect of such action is already being discussed. According to a senior member of the prosecuting team, Nel immediately raised the possibility with the team. “He is studying case law as we speak,” said the source.

In terms of section 310 of the Criminal Procedure Act, the State can appeal a not-guilty verdict “on any question of the law”, reports the Sunday Times.

Parents interviewed

In an NBC interview on Friday, Steenkamp’s parents said they believed Pistorius’s conviction of culpable homicide was not the right one, reported Sapa.

"I just don't feel that this is... right. They believe his story and I don't believe that story. That's the difference," said Reeva's mother June Steenkamp.

"I really don't care what happens to Oscar. It's not going to change anything because my daughter is never coming back. He's still living and breathing you know, and she is gone forever."

She said there were so many mistakes made and the athlete's story "did not add up".

Disbelief

Steenkamp's father, Barry, said there was disbelief, not only in their minds but "everyone in the world".

June Steenkamp said many people wanted to know what had happened.

"She [Reeva] died a horrible death. A horrible, painful, terrible death and she suffered," she said.

"He shot through the door and I can't believe that they believe that it was an accident."

NBC reported that the Steenkamps want to talk to Pistorius.

They said they did not want revenge but just the truth to come out.

Read more on:    gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  thokozile masipa  |  pistorius trial

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