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Prosecutor seeks appeal in Pistorius case

Updated: 2014-12-10 08:02
By Agencies in Pretoria, South Africa (China Daily)

A South African judge delayed ruling on Tuesday on whether to allow an appeal against Oscar Pistorius' five-year prison sentence, saying she wanted more time to consider arguments.

After listening to arguments from the prosecution and defense, Judge Thokozile Masipa adjourned the appeal hearing until Wednesday, saying: "I want to think about it."

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel on Tuesday argued in court for an appeal in the case against Pistorius, who was acquitted of murder for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Nel outlined his objections to the culpable homicide verdict and sentence against the Olympic runner, saying Judge Thokozile Masipa erred in her interpretation of the law.

In October, Masipa convicted Pistorius of the lesser charge of culpable homicide and sentenced him to five years in prison. He could be released to go under house arrest after 10 months.

"There is a very good prospect that we may convince an appeal court that the shortest possible incarceration in a case like this, my lady, is shockingly inappropriate," Nel said, addressing Masipa in the same Pretoria courtroom where the murder trial was conducted.

The double-amputee athlete is serving his sentence in a Pretoria prison and was not in court.

Pistorius fatally shot Steenkamp in his home last year. He said he thought an intruder was in the house; prosecutors alleged he killed his girlfriend after an argument.

The basis of the prosecution's argument for an appeal is that the judge incorrectly interpreted a legal principle under which a person should be found guilty of murder if they foresaw the possibility of a person dying because of their actions and went ahead with those actions anyway.

Pistorius' lawyers had filed court papers asking Masipa to reject prosecutors' attempts to take the athlete's case to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

If an appeal is granted and Pistorius is convicted of murder, he will face a minimum of 15 years in prison.


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