Pistorius: SCA exceeded its powers, breached his rights

2017-12-19 16:06
(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

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Johannesburg – Convicted murderer and former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius believes the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) exceeded its powers and violated his rights to a fair trial following the recent decision to increase his murder sentence to 13 years.

Pistorius has applied to the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the sentence.

In his application, he submitted that the SCA "impermissibly disregarded or ignored" factual findings the original trial court found to be substantial and compelling evidence.

"[Pistorius] contends that this is impermissible, having regard to the role of an appellate court in dealing with issues of sentences, and is in breach of the applicant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial, which includes the sentencing phase, and is in breach of his Constitutional right to not be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause," the application reads.

Judge Thokizile Masipa sentenced Pistorius to five years imprisonment in the North Gauteng High Court in 2014.

He only served 10 months of that sentence before he was released and placed under house arrest.

The State appealed the culpable homicide conviction in 2016 and it was replaced with a murder conviction.

Following that, Masipa handed down a six-year jail term for murder.

The State petitioned the SCA directly after that, arguing that the six-year sentence was far too lenient for a murder conviction. Last month the SCA changed the sentence to 13 years.

Now Pistorius is arguing that the sentence is unfair.

"The net effect of the sentence of the applicant is that parole will only be considered based on the sentence of 13 years and five months, and not the full term of 15 years."

"As such, the applicant is being deprived of parole on the one year and seven months already (fully) served," the application stated.

Pistorius argued that he was therefore serving a more severe sentence than the 15 years imposed.

He also submitted that the SCA disregarded or ignored material facts.

"When this occurs, the appellate court is exceeding its powers and breaching the rights of an accused to a fair trial," he said.

"Whether this is so in all criminal matters need not be debated. What is relevant is that this is indeed so in respect of minimum sentencing matters."

Pistorius argued that the issue raised a Constitutional question.

"It concerns the powers and jurisdiction of an appellate court in the sentencing phase," he argued.

NPA spokesperson Phindi Louw said:"The verdict of the SCA was just and fair and as the State we still maintain that the verdict by North Gauteng was shockingly low, and [we] believed there were prospects of success on appeal and SCA confirmed that.We are convinced that no court will come at a different conclusion.''

Louw said the State would their opposing papers in January 2018.

Read more on:    oscar pistorius  |  courts

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