If you thought the Oscar saga was over, think again

By Almari Wessels
26 August 2016

The State probably knew their sentence appeal would be rejected, an expert says. In fact, it may have been part of their plan.

You'd be forgiven for thinking the drama surrounding Oscar Pistorius was finally at an end when Judge Thokozile Masipa refused the state permission to appeal his sentence.

But experts say it's far from over.

It’s now almost certain that the state will appeal for special permission to the Appeal Court in Bloemfontein to have the six-year sentence the judge handed down overturned, says Marius du Toit, criminal law attorney from Pretoria.

Read more: State cannot appeal Oscar’s sentence, Judge Masipa rules

“I think everyone knew that Judge Masipa would give the state a hiding in court today, and Advocate Gerrie Nel and his team were prepared for it. Remember, when they appealed for the first time Masipa granted leave to appeal only the legal questions – not the sentence.

“I though the chance of her granting leave to appeal was zero,” Marius says, adding that you can turn to the Appeal Court the moment a judge refuses leave to appeal.

“I think the state set this process in motion knowing that Masipa would refuse their appeal and that they’d have to turn to the Appeal Court.”

For the Appeal Court to grant such an appeal you must be able to show that unusual circumstances are involved and that your case has a reasonable chance of success. It must be something other than the ordinary run of cases to induce the Appeal Court to intervene, Marius says.

“If the Appeal Court has an appetite for a case it will grant permission.”

If Advocate Gerrie Nel and his team do appeal to the Appeal Court and permission is refused that will be the end of the road for the on-going drama, Marius says.

But for the time being the end of the court saga, which began about two and a half years ago in Court GD of the Pretoria High Court, is still not in sight.

Read more:

Oscar sentenced to SIX years behind bars

State to appeal Oscar’s ‘shockingly too lenient’ sentence as family reveal he’s ‘at peace’ in prison hospital wing

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