South African prosecutors on Wednesday won their bid to appeal the culpable homicide verdict handed down to Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and will now seek a murder conviction
The South African judge Thokozile Masipa has ruled that prosecutors can appeal against the acquittal on murder charges of Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius .
Judge Thokozile Masipa said prosecutors could appeal against the acquittal, but not the five-year sentence given for the lesser charge of culpable homicide.
State prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, said in his application to appeal on Tuesday that the judgement was “shockingly inappropriate” and requested permission to seek a murder conviction, which would carry a minimum 15 year jail term.
Nel argued that even if Pistorius did not know Steenkamp was behind the door when he fired, the athlete showed intent to kill whoever was in the small toilet cubicle.
Pistorius’ lawyers had opposed the appeal request.
The case will now go before South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal.
During the seven-month trial, the state failed to convince Judge Thokozile Masipa, 67, of Pistorius’ intent to kill when he fired, leading to his conviction for negligent killing – culpable homicide – and a five-year jail term in October.
Pistorius, whose lower legs were amputated as a baby, killed Steenkamp on February 14 last year by firing four 9mm rounds into the locked door of a toilet cubicle in what he said was the mistaken belief an intruder was hiding behind it.