Prosecutors to appeal Oscar Pistorius’ trial verdict

by Chidi Okoye

Prosecutors have indicated their intention to appeal the verdict and sentencing of Oscar Pistorius.

The Paralympian was last week, given a 5-year sentence for culpable homicide in the murder of girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s day last year.

Nathi Mncube, a spokesperson for South Africa’s national prosecuting authority, wrote on Twitter: “Oscar Pistorius judgement, NPA will be appealing both the conviction and sentence. The appeal on conviction is based on the question of law.”

After Judge Thokozile Masipa found Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide, the South African public and campaigners against gender violence, vehemently criticised the judgement.

In her ruling, Masipa had stated that there was no reason to doubt the Pistorius’ claim that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and did not intend to kill anyone when he shot four times through a locked toilet door.


At the time, the women’s league of the African National Congress said, “It is the organisation’s view that an appeal is in the interests of justice, as well as to send a strong message to the public that crimes against women should carry the maximum penalty.”

“We hold that regardless of who Mr Pistorius believed to be behind the bathroom door that fateful night, he shot to kill and therefore a murder did occur.”

If an appeal goes through, the state is expected to argue that Masipa misinterpreted the law around dolus eventualis murder, which means a perpetrator objectively foresees the possibility of his act causing death and persists regardless of the consequences. She ruled that this did not apply to Pistorius, although he was grossly negligent.

In a related development, South Africa’s City Press newspaper reported that the blade runner is broke and still owes his lawyers 10 million rand. The paper stated that his legal team has been representing him free of charge for at least two months.

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