Pistorius’ lawyers oppose verdict, jail sentence appeal

Oscar Pistorius’ lawyers have today formally opposed an appeal by the state against the athlete’s culpable homicide verdict and five-year jail sentence handed down last month.

Pistorius was sentenced in the negligent killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after the state failed to convince judge Thokozile Masipa that he intended to kill when he fired shots through a locked toilet door at his luxury Pretoria home.

Prosecutors appealed the ruling on Tuesday, challenging the Masipa’s interpretation of the law. They need to convince her another court could reach a different verdict.

The decision by Pistorius’ team to oppose the appeal means Judge Masipa will have to hear arguments from both sides, which will take more time than a regular appeal procedure.

The appeal would be heard on November 18.

Pistorius’ lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prosecutors told Talk Radio 702 today they had received documents from Pistorius’ lawyers giving notice of their intention to oppose the state’s appeal.

The Olympic and Paralympic athlete killed Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year by firing four 9mm rounds into the door of a toilet cubicle in what he said was the mistaken belief an intruder was hiding behind it.

Masipa’s decision to rule out murder was criticised by legal professionals and the Women’s League of the African National Congress as an erroneous interpretation of the law.

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