State cannot appeal Oscar's sentence, Judge Masipa rules


Judge Thokozile Masipa on Friday rejected the State's bid for leave to appeal the six-year jail sentence for murder she imposed on Oscar Pistorius.

"I am not persuaded that there are reasonable prospects of success for an appeal. The application for leave to appeal against the sentence is dismissed with costs," she said in the High Court in Johannesburg.

Barry Roux, for Oscar, had earlier argued that the State was merely dragging out legal processes and subjecting the former Paralympian to continued uncertainty.

"What does the State want? 10 years? What is the practical effect of that?"

Masipa originally sentenced Oscar to five years for culpable homicide for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The Supreme Court of Appeal overturned her verdict in December last year, and ordered her to sentence him for murder.

Roux said the State was showing a lot of prejudice towards Oscar. Suggesting he merely showed "some regret" was "so wrong". "The man was crying, he was praying."

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

Appeal for consistent judicial response

It was an insult for the State to say that the court had not taken the 15-year minimum sentence for murder into account. The court had not applied unfettered discretion in passing sentence, he said.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel had argued that deviating from the prescribed 15-year minimum sentence for murder "induces a sense of shock".

"A severe, standardised and consistent response from the court is required," said Nel, referring to the sentencing of offenders for serious crimes.

Claiming Oscar thought there was an intruder in his bathroom should not be considered a mitigating factor, Nel argued. An intruder’s life could not be considered to be less important than Reeva's, he said.

In the early hours of February 14, 2013, Oscar shot Reeva four times through the locked door of the toilet in his Silver Woods Country Estate home. He claimed he thought there was an intruder behind the door about to emerge and harm him, and that Reeva was still in bed.

Read more: Oscar sentenced to SIX years behind bars


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