Oscar Pistorius' lawyer claims athlete can't afford another murder trial

The prosecution appealed for Pistorius to be tried for the higher charge of murder over the death of his former girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp

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The Independent Online

Oscar Pistorius would not be able to afford a potential re-trial over the death of his former girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, his lawyer has said.

Ms Steenkamp, who was 29, died after Pistorius fired four shots through the bathroom door of his home. He admitted the shooting but said he believed his partner was an intruder.

Pistorius, 28, was found guilty of culpable homicide and a firearms offence in October, 2014. He was sentenced to five years in jail.

South African prosecutors lodged an appeal calling for Pistorius to be tried for murder, arguing that under South African law a person may be found “guilty of murder with lesser intent if they acted with the knowledge that a person might be killed because of their actions, but went ahead anyway”, according to the Associated Press.

Pistorius’ lawyer Barry Roux has said that the former Paralympic athlete’s “financial ability” to pay for another trial would be “non-existent” following the the amount of money he spent on the initial trial.

The lawyer also said that prosecutors are persevering with a “failed case” and should not challenge the original verdict ruled by Judge Thokozile Masipa. The lawyers added that due to the high profile nature of the first case, a re-trial wouldn’t be fair as witnesses will have seen extensive media coverage.

 

 

Under South African law, culpable homicide is the “unlawful or negligent killing” of a person, and is equivalent to the UK charge of manslaughter.

Pistorius, a double amputee, became the first Paralympic athlete to compete in the Olympics in London, 2012.

The case is expected to reach the Supreme Court of Appeal in November where the court can decide to either reject the prosecution’s appeal, convict him of murder there and then or order a re-trial.

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