Friday, February 20, 2015

Oscar Pistorius: Prosecutors one step closer to murder conviction as anniversary of girlfriend's death approaches

See that clenched jaw, Oscar's feeling legal heat again
Prosecutors today confirmed they are pushing ahead with plans to appeal Oscar Pistorius' culpable homicide conviction for killing his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

South African prosecutors - who want the Paralympian to instead be convicted for murder - revealed it had filed papers to the High Court as the two-year anniversary of Steenkamp's death approaches.
The Paralympic athlete was jailed for five years in October after he was convicted of killing his girlfriend in the early hours of Valentine's Day 2013. He was cleared of her murder, but found guilty of culpable homicide - or manslaughter. However prosecutors plan to challenge the decision, and have been given permission to appeal. They will now seek a murder conviction and, if successful, the Blade Runner faces 15 years in jail.
The National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Velekhaya Mgobhozi said today: “The NPA confirms that on 6 February 2015 it has filed a notice on the defence and then again on 9 February 2015, we filed a notice at the High Court of Pretoria and the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.”

Oscar Pistorius 'lost it' after learning he could still face a charge of murder for shooting dead Reeva Steenkamp, reports in South Africa suggested last year. According to the South Africa Times, Pistorius was listening to the hearing in jail via a radio.
The result is said to have sent him into a rage, a prisoner told the newspaper.
"He got up and stomped. He went straight to the gym," said the fellow inmate at Pretoria's Kgosi Mampuru II prison, where Pistorius is behind bars.
"He started lifting weights like it was going out of fashion. He is p***ed off.
"Who wouldn't be? He was definitely expecting to be out by August."

Pistorius was sentenced to five years in jail for culpable homicide but had been expected to be released on house arrest in August next year. Legal experts say that is now doubtful. Speaking before the Blade Runner's trial judge Thokozile Masipa last year, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said he wished to appeal the conviction on questions of law.

He claimed the legal principles applied in reaching the culpable homicide verdict were "erroneous", and that the court did not take the case's circumstantial evidence into consideration in its entirety. He went on to say that the court found Pistorius had the intention to shoot that night, but not the intention to kill. But Nel questioned how the athlete could not have foreseen the consequences of his actions.

Delivering her ruling on the prosecution's application to appeal, Judge Masipa said: "I cannot say the prospect of success at the Supreme Court is remote."
However, the judge refused the prosecution team permission to appeal the length of Pistorius' five year jail sentence.

Nel had argued that the jail term was "shockingly inappropriate", but Judge Masipa said she was not convinced by that argument and refused the application.
Pistorius' father Henke told reporters after the ruling: "I don't want to say anything before it's decided, but it shouldn't have gone this far."
A later statement from the Pistorius family said: "We note the finding of the Court and abide by the ruling."

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