Court to decide whether Oscar Pistorius should be convicted of murder

The Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa will announce on Thursday its verdict on an attempt by state prosecutors to have Oscar Pistorius convicted of murder.

The Paralympian was found guilty last year of the lesser charged of culpable homicide, a similar charge to manslaughter, after fatally shooting Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013.

He has since been released from jail on parole in October after serving one year of his five-year sentence.


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Pistorius has always claimed he thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he opened fire.

At the crux of the appeal case was how trial judge Thokozile Masipa interpreted the principle of “dolus eventualis” – awareness of the likely outcome of an action – under which she acquitted Pistorius of murder.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued that Pistorius should be convicted of murder as he intended to kill whoever was behind the toilet door through which he fired four bullets.

“Firing through the door at torso level into a small cubicle … the foresight must be that someone would die,” Nel told the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein at the hearing in November.

Pistorius’ lawyer Barry Roux argued that the original trial verdict could not be challenged on its factual findings.

The appeal judges could alter the original trial verdict and send the case back to the high court for a new sentence.

If Pistorius was found guilty of murder, he would face a minimum of 15 years in prison.

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