Prosecutors Appeal Pistorius Verdict And Sentence

PistoriusThe South African prosecution authority confirmed on Tuesday it would file an appeal against the culpable homicide verdict and five-year jail sentence handed down to paralympian Oscar Pistorius last month.

Pistorius was absolved of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at the end of a seven-month trial after the state failed to convince judge Thokozile Masipa of Pistorius’ intent to kill when he fired through a locked toilet door at his luxury Pretoria home, leading to a conviction for negligent killing and a five-year jail term.

“Today, we announce that the NPA will file the application for leave to appeal both the conviction and sentence,” the National Prosecuting Authority said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The merits of the NPA’s argument in this regard are contained in the papers that were filed with the registrar of the North Gauteng High Court today.”

Reuters reports that the Olympic and Paralympic athlete, whose lower legs were amputated as a baby, 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.

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

“We further announce, as we have indicated before, the appeal on conviction is based on a question of law,” NPA spokesman Nathi Ncube told PowerFM radio.

Pistorius Guilty of Culpable Homicide, To Be Sentenced October 13

PistoriusSouth African amputee sprinter, Oscar Pistorious, has been found guilty of culpable homicide and contravening the Firearms Control Act (discharging a weapon in a public space).

Judge Thokozile Masipa acquitted Oscar Pistorius of two of three weapons charges but found him guilty of the third.

Pistorius did not intend to kill Steenkamp, Masipa said, accepting his defense that he thought someone had broken into his house and that he believed he was defending himself.

Having recapped that Pistorius is not guilty of murder or premeditated murder, she said that Pistorius acted negligently when he fired shots through the door, knowing there was someone behind it.

Judge Masipa also said that she had considered the submissions by counsel is not persuaded that bail should not be extended. Oscar Pistorius is therefore to remain out on bail until the sentencing hearing which has been set for October 13.

The Olympic sprinter is accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius has not denied that he shot her, but claims it was an accident.

Culpable homicide is the South African term for unintentionally — but illegally — killing a person.

There’s no mandatory minimum for negligent or culpable homicide. The maximum sentence is 15 years.

Pistorius has no prior convictions and it is expected that this would be taken into account during the sentencing phase.

South Africa’s Pistorius Granted Bail

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius was granted bail today after being accused of murdering his girlfriend.

The decision by Magistrate; Desmond Nair drew cheers from Pistorius’ family and supporters at the Pretoria magistrate court, although the athlete appeared unmoved as the decision was read out.

The decision followed a week of dramatic testimony about how the athlete shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his luxury home near Pretoria in the early hours of February 14, Valentine’s Day.

Prosecutors said Pistorius, 26, committed premeditated murder when he fired four shots into a locked bathroom door, hitting his girlfriend cowering on the other side. Steenkamp, 29, suffered gunshot wounds to her head, hip and arm.

Pistorius’ defense team argued that the killing was a tragic mistake, saying the athlete had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder. They said he was too famous to pose a flight risk and deserved bail to prepare for a case that has drawn worldwide attention.

The full trial is unlikely to start for several months. Olympic and Paralympic star Pistorius, a double amputee who ran races on carbon fiber blades, faces life in prison if convicted of murder.

The shooting and allegations that have emerged at the bail hearing have stunned the millions around the world who saw his track glory as an inspiring tale of triumph over adversity.

 

Pistorius and girlfriend were planning future – uncle

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius was planning a future with girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who he is accused of shooting in cold blood this week, his uncle said on Saturday.

“We are in a state of total shock – firstly about the tragic death of Reeva who we had all got to know well and care for deeply over the last few months,” Anthony Pistorius said in a statement released by his nephew’s agent.

“They had plans together and Oscar was happier in his private life than he had been for a long time,” he said.

Pistorius, 26, was charged on Friday with murdering Steenkamp in the early hours of the previous day. He broke down during a 40-minute bail hearing at a Pretoria court but was not asked to enter a plea.

Prosecutors alleged the shooting was premeditated – a charge that could put Pistorius behind bars for life if he is convicted.

Anthony Pistorius reiterated the family’s belief that the track star – a double amputee who became one of the biggest names in world athletics – had not deliberately shot Steenkamp, a 30-year-old model. Initial reports suggested he may have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder.

Reuters

Running Blades: Pistorius told to back claims with evidence by IPC

Sprint star Oscar Pistorious’s claim about the length of his rivals’ artificial running blades has been thrown out by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) saying there is no substance to the allegations.

The media and communications director for the IPC; Craig Spence said at a news conference in London on Wednesday that there is no evidence that any athlete competed on different size running blades, unless South Africa can come up with some evidence that proves otherwise, but aside that the IPC won’t continue investigation.

It was reported that South Africa had made a formal complaint raising Pistorius’s claims he was at a disadvantage in the T44 200m final because other runners were a lot taller and he could not compete with their stride length.

Pistorius’s defeat to Brazil’s Alan Oliveira was his first defeat in a 200m in nine years and means he will now not retain the three sprint titles he won in Beijing.

The 25-year-old – the most high-profile athlete at the Games after he became the first double-amputee to compete at the Olympics last month – said he had raised the issue with the IPC but it had fallen “on deaf ears”.

He later apologised for the timing of the comments but not the substance.

Spence said they had spoken to national team coaches and found no evidence to back up the claims.

Swapping blades mid-competition is currently against the rules.

Spence said Games organisers contacted all national Paralympic committees in April this year and asked them to highlight any concerns about the rules but no issues were raised by South Africa.

The IPC has said all athletes’ prostheses, which have to be in proportion to the length of their body, were measured on Sunday and no infringements were found.