A South African court reconvened today to determine whether the conviction and jail term of Oscar Pistorius can be appealed.
In October, Judge Thokozile Masipa convicted Pistorius of culpable homicide and sentenced him to a five-year prison term for the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He may be released from jail to go under house arrest after 10 months in prison.
While the disgraced Paralympic athlete was not expected to attend court himself, the key figures from the murder trial – Judge Masipa, lawyers Gerrie Nel for the prosecution and Barry Roux for the defence – have all arrived for the start of the hearing.
Famed for his bullish approach throughout the Pistorius trial process, Nel has said this morning that he won’t be arguing the case again. Rather, he called the five-year sentence the athlete received for culpable homicide (manslaughter) as “inappropriate”, and said that the court set a "shockingly low" precedent for this type of crime.
In seeking to appeal the manslaughter conviction itself, the state will argue that the court may not have correctly applied the principles of dolus eventualis – that Pistorius foresaw his actions would lead to the death of the person behind the bathroom door – which would make his crime murder.
Though there were numerous delays in the Pistorius trial and sentencing hearings, Judge Masipa is expected to reach a decision on the appeal today.
If the prosecution's appeal is granted and Pistorius is then convicted of murder, he could face a minimum of 15 years in prison.
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