Today in New Delhi, India
Oct 18, 2018-Thursday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

South Africa’s court to hear state’s appeal against Oscar Pistorius in November

In the hearing, the state will argue that six years in jail is too lenient a sentence for the murder by Oscar Pistorius of Reeva Steenkamp, his girlfriend, in 2013

other sports Updated: Sep 19, 2017 16:45 IST
Reuters, Johannesburg
Oscar Pistorius,Pistorius hearing,Reeva Steenkamp
(FILE PHOTO) Oscar Pistorius leaves after appearing for the trial of the 2013 killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 14, 2016.(REUTERS)

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) will hear the state’s appeal against the six-year murder sentence handed to Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius on Nov. 3, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Tuesday.

The state will argue that six years in jail is too lenient a sentence for the murder by Pistorius of Reeva Steenkamp, his girlfriend, in 2013.

“The state, in the papers, we stipulate clearly that the sentence imposed is shockingly low,” said NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku.

“The presiding officer has the discretion to deviate from the minimum prescribed sentence when compelling and substantial circumstances exist. But... with this matter, the presiding officer exercised that discretion in a very lenient manner.”

Women’s rights groups in a country beset by high levels of violent crime against women say Oscar Pistorius has received preferential treatment compared to non-whites and those without his wealth or international celebrity status.

The SCA told state prosecutors and the defence in November that they would need to argue their cases in court before it would rule on the matter.

State prosecutors, led by advocate Gerrie Nel, say the sentence was too lenient as the jail term was less than half the 15 years they had sought. In his arguments at the trial, Nel said Oscar Pistorius had shown no remorse for the 2013 shooting.

Lawyers for the gold medallist, known as the “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fibre prosthetics, say he did not deliberately kill model and law graduate Steenkamp.

The athlete was originally convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in jail. That conviction was increased to murder by the SCA in December 2015 and his sentence increased to six years by trial Judge Thokozile Masipa.

She dismissed in August 2016 a request by Nel to appeal Pistorius’ sentence, saying she was not persuaded that there was a reasonable prospect of success at another court.

Nel then launched his case at the SCA, in Bloemfontein, 400 km (250 miles) southwest of Johannesburg.

First Published: Sep 19, 2017 14:30 IST