State's appeal is flawed, Pistorius lawyers argue

2014-11-18 12:08
Oscar Pistorius and his defence attorney Barry Roux attend his murder trial at the high court in Pretoria. (Alon Skuy, AP)

Oscar Pistorius and his defence attorney Barry Roux attend his murder trial at the high court in Pretoria. (Alon Skuy, AP)

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Johannesburg - Oscar Pistorius's lawyers have reportedly challenged the State's intention to appeal his conviction and sentence, saying it is deeply flawed and should be dismissed.

In September, the athlete was found guilty of culpable homicide for the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in his Pretoria home in February 2013. He fired four shots at his toilet door, claiming he thought she was an intruder. In October, Judge Thokozile Masipa sentenced him to five years in prison.

eNCA reported on Tuesday that Pistorius's lawyers argued in court papers that the State aims to appeal a factual finding and not a legal finding about the athlete's intent when he fired shots - but it can only appeal the judge's legal findings, and not her factual findings.

The lawyers also argued that the State failed to argue during the trial that Pistorius intended to kill the person he believed was behind his toilet door. The judge found he intended to shoot the intruder, but not necessarily to kill the person.

The State also failed to argue that the five-year sentence handed down to Pistorius was not appropriate, eNCA reported.

Earlier this month, Pistorius's legal team said it would oppose the State's application to appeal the conviction and five-year sentence, with the judge hearing the application on 18 November.

The National Prosecuting Authority said previously that it found Judge Masipa's sentence "shockingly light and inappropriate", and said the jail term would not have been imposed by any reasonable court. 

The appeal would be based on questions of law, and the judge's interpretation of the circumstantial evidence and the principle of dolus eventualis, the NPA said. It will be heard on 9 December 2014.

Read more on:    npa  |  oscar pistorius  |  pistorius trial

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