South African prosecutors to appeal Oscar Pistorius verdict, sentence

Monday October 27th, 2014

South African prosecutors say they will appeal the verdict and five-year prison sentence given to Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius for the death of his girlfriend, reports the Associated Press.

A spokesperson for South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority told the Associated Press that it will file paperwork to South African judge Thokozile Masipa. Masipa has the ability to reject the appeal.

The NPA seeks to have Pistorius’ culpable homicide verdict overturned and replaced with a second-degree murder conviction, which has a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.

“Today we announce that the decision to appeal both the conviction and sentence has been taken,” the NPA said in a statement, via the Independent. “The merits, demerits of the NPA’s argument in this regard will become evident when we file papers for leave to appeal. The appeal on conviction is based on the question of law.”

Masipa convicted Pistorius of culpable homicide last month, but the judge acquitted him of murder and sentenced Pistorius to five years in prison for the Feb. 14, 2013 shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius, who faced up to 15 years in prison, was also sentenced to three years in prison for unlawfully firing a gun in a restaurant in a separate incident weeks before Steenkamp's death. Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times through a door in his home, saying the shooting was an accident because he mistook her for an intruder.

Under South African law, Pistorius, who started his sentence on Oct. 21, has to serve at least 10 months of his sentence before he can be considered for parole.

- Scooby Axson

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