Oscar Pistorius trial: South African prosecutors announce decision to appeal verdict and sentence of disgraced Paralympian
From The Independent UK:
South African authorities were furious with Judge Masipa’s verdict, which they have suggested was an incorrect application of the law.
In the next few days the NPA will submit papers to Judge Masipa, asking for “leave to appeal” her judgement and sentence. She must then decide whether it would be possible for another judge to reach a different conclusion, based on the evidence put before her.
“Today we announce that the decision to appeal both the conviction and sentence has been taken,” the NPA said in a statement.
“The appeal on conviction is based on the question of law.
“The merits, demerits of the NPA’s argument in this regard will become evident when we file papers for leave to appeal.
“The prosecutors are now preparing the necessary papers in order to be able to file within the next few days.”
Ever since the verdict more than a month ago, the NPA’s has publicly stated it would have the “appetite” for an appeal.
Oscar Pistorius Trial Evidence
By firing four shots into a tiny room in which he knew there was a person, it will be the NPA’s case that Pistorius would have foreseen the person in there would be killed. It was Judge Masipa’s conclusion that the athlete should have foreseen that his actions would kill, but that he did not foresee it.
If leave to appeal is granted, the appeal will take the form of legal argument, and whether Judge Masipa was correct in her application of the law. It is unlikely in its initial stages to involve fresh witness testimony, or for Oscar Pistorius to return to court.
If Judge Masipa rejects the application for leave to appeal, the NPA can turn to South Africa’s Supreme Court.
Thank you The Independent UK
Could Oscar Pistorius face ANOTHER murder trial? South African prosecutors ‘to appeal conviction of lesser charge of manslaughter over Reeva Steenkamp death’
- Prosecutors have met with a criminal law expert to discuss an appeal
- Oscar Pistorius was give a five-year prison sentence on Tuesday
- If found guilty of murder, he would face a minimum of 15 years in prison
Oscar Pistorius could face another murder trial after South African authorities admitted they had ‘an appetite’ to challenge his conviction on a lesser charge.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel is holding urgent meetings with the country’s most senior legal experts to seek support of a possible appeal.
Professor James Grant, who was one of the first to be consulted, is urging Mr Nel, to have Pistorius’ case looked at again and offering support to make the case for a murder conviction.
Oscar Pistorius was handed sentenced to five years in prison for the shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
‘We desperately need another look at this case – there should be an appeal and I have agreed to assist with it, ‘ Professor Grant said.
The disabled sprinter is just three days into a five year jail sentence for the culpable homicide – or manslaughter – of Reeva Steenkamp.
Under sentencing guidelines, the 27 year old could spend just ten months behind bars and be allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest.
Today, the National Prosecuting Authoriy confirmed it now had an ‘appetite’ to appeal Judge Thokozile Masipa’s decision.
‘We have always stated first and foremost that we disappointed with the conviction,’ spokesman Nathi Mncube said.
‘There is an appetite to appeal, and we have 14 days to consider the law and ensure the facts and the law allow us to appeal,’
Professor Grant said he thought an appeal was now ‘more likely than not’, but it would not be straightforward.
The high profile nature of the Blade Runner’s trial had raised questionable legal precedents that academics argued against for years, he added.
A ruling on a case heard before South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal more than 30 years ago set a precedent that now limits the state’s right of appeal.
In order for the verdict in Pistorius’ case to be challenged, the earlier case would also have to be appealed.
There was widespread criticism of Judge Masipa’s acquittal of Pistorius on a murder charge last month – including by Professor Grant, who said it highlighted the illogicality in the interpretation of criminal negligence and criminal intent in key cases on which the judge based her ruling.
In her judgment explaining why she could only convict him on culpable homicide, or manslaughter, the 67 year-old judge acknowledged that a ‘reasonable’ person with Pistorius’s disabilities would have foreseen that shooting into the door may have killed the person inside.
However, she said South African legal precedents warned against automatically assuming that because a perpetrator ‘should have’ foreseen the consequences of his actions that he actually did.
She said that the prosecution had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the double amputee foresaw the fatal consequences of his actions when he shot at the door, meaning she could not convict him on a murder charge.
‘These issues have demanded attention for decades, and now thanks to the Pistorius trial, they have been brought to the attention of a lot of people.
‘Resolving these issues will benefit everybody – no matter how much they have paid for their legal teams.’
Pistorius’ lawyers were due to visit him today at Kgosi Mampuru jail to ensure he is getting all the medical support – for his disability and his fragile mental health – that he needs.
With the state looking increasingly like they are not prepared to let Judge Masipa’s verdict lie, the disgraced athlete will come under pressure to build a fresh ‘war chest’ for the legal battles ahead.
At his sentencing hearing, his lawyer, Barry Roux, told the court that his ‘broke’ client was already struggling to pay legal fees incurred since the Valentine’s Day shooting of Miss Steenkamp, 29.
It would take at least a year for any appeal in his case to reach a higher court, Professor Grant said.
The national prosecuting authority have until Monday 3 November to make their final decision.
Pistorius’ team could also appeal his conviction or sentence, but Arnold Pistorius, the track star’s uncle, told reporters that his nephew was embracing his period in jail as an opportunity to ‘pay back to society’.
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