Prosecutors in Oscar Pistorius case appeal sentence, conviction

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Prosecutor appeals verdict, sentencing in Oscar Pistorius case
Tuesday November 4th, 2014

South African prosecutors officially filed appeal papers against the verdict and five-year prison sentence given to Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius for the killing of his girlfriend.

South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority filed the paperwork at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, where Pistorius’ murder trial was held.

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

Authorities say Steenkamp was shot four times through a door at Pistorius’ home. Pistorius, who is being held at the hospital wing of the Kgosi Mampuru II prison, said the shooting was an accident because he mistook her for an intruder.

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

Filing the appeal is the first step for prosecutors in trying to have the verdict and sentence thrown out. The National Prosecuting Authority, desiring harsher punishment, said the appeal was “based on the question of law.”

“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 said, going on to say that Pistorius “walked to the bathroom and fired four shots, knowing that there was a human being behind the door of the toilet.”

Pistorius would face 15 years in prison if he is convicted of murder on appeal. The case would be heard by the Supreme Court of Appeal. 

- Scooby Axson

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