Oscar Pistorius could get bail – expert

2014-12-08 17:01

After 49 days in prison, Oscar Pistorius could get bail if the State succeeds in its application for leave to appeal his sentence and conviction, says a law expert.

“If leave for appeal is granted, he can apply for bail and possibly be released as his legal team prepares its case,” said advocate Mannie Witz of The Bridge law firm today.

Pistorius would probably be present in the High Court in Pretoria for the proceedings today, said Witz.

The State has filed papers calling for a heavier conviction and harsher sentence to be imposed on the paralympic athlete.

Pistorius testified that he accidentally shot dead his model and law-graduate girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door at his Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day last year.

He said he thought she was an intruder.

In court papers, the State described the five-year sentence imposed on him as “shockingly light and inappropriate”.

Pistorius was jailed for five years for culpable homicide. For discharging a firearm at Tasha’s restaurant in Sandton, Johannesburg, in January 2013, he was sentenced to three years in jail, suspended for five years.

Hours after Judge Thokozile Masipa sentenced Pistorius on October 21, legal experts said she had been strategic.

Imposing a sentence longer than five years would have meant he was ineligible for house arrest, Wits School of Law Professor Stephen Tuson said at the time.

“The number ‘five years’ was not an ordinary number, it was carefully selected,” he said.

According to section 276 of the Criminal Procedure Act, one-sixth of a jail sentence can be converted to house arrest if the sentence is not more than five years.

This means Pistorius could spend only 10 months in prison.

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