Oscar appeal decision not taken lightly – Nel

2014-12-09 10:34

The application by the State for leave to appeal Oscar Pistorius’ sentence and conviction was not an easy task, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has heard.

“It’s never an easy task to bring an application for leave to appeal,” said Prosecutor Gerrie Nel today.

“It’s an exception, it’s my first... We do it with the utmost respect for the court... it wasn’t a decision lightly taken.”

Nel said he would not argue the case again but focus on the issue at hand.

Pistorius was not in court today, but he was represented by his lawyers Barry Roux and Brian Webber.

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 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.

Neither Pistorius’ relatives nor the Steenkamps were in court today.

On October 21, Judge Thokozile Masipa jailed Pistorius 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.

Today, Nel said the sentence was “shockingly inappropriate”.

Masipa was not flanked by her assessors as during the trial and would deal with the application alone.

Three cameras were set up in court – one at the back and two on either side of the front of the court.

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