Monday November 10th, 2014

South African prosecutors said their application to appeal against Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius' conviction and five-year prison sentence for killing his girlfriend will be heard in court on Dec. 9, reports the Associated Press' Gerald Imray.

Last week, prosecutors filed appeal papers against the verdict and prison sentence given to Pistorius after he was found guilty of culpable homicide in the Feb. 14, 2013 shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp.

Prosecutors believe Pistorius should have been found guilty of murder for killing Steenkamp. Instead Judge Thokozile Masipa found Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide, which is equivalent to manslaughter.

Masipa said that Pistorius acted negligently when he shot Steenkamp four times, but did not intend to kill her. Pistorius said the shooting was an accident because he mistook her for an intruder.

According to South African law, Pistorius, 27, can be considered for parole after a minimum of 10 months of his sentence.

“The sentence of 5 years imprisonment for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp in the circumstances of the case is shockingly light, inappropriate and would not have been imposed by any court,” the appeal papers filed last week said.

Pistorius would face 15 years in prison if he is convicted of murder on appeal. South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority filed the paperwork at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria and that's where the appeal will be heard.

The National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa also said that Pistorius' defense lawyers would oppose the appeal.

Prosecutors cited a section of South African law called dolus eventualis in the appeal, which states someone should be found guilty of murder if they saw the possibility of a person dying through their actions.

"The NPA reiterates that the decision to appeal was taken on the basis that it believes there exists reasonable prospects of a successful appeal based on a question of law," the state prosecuting body said in a statement.

- Scooby Axson

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