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State to Challenge Pistorius’s 6-Year Jail Term

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Friday, August 26th, 2016
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The State will on Friday again challenge a ruling by Judge Thokozile Masipa against convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius.

It would ask for leave to appeal against the six-year jail term she sentenced him to on July 6. The hearing would take place in the High Court in Johannesburg, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said.

“We respectfully submit that our courts are enjoined to severely punish accused persons who shoot and kill without reason,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel said in his application for leave to appeal.

While the former paralympic athlete had expressed “some regret”, he had still not offered a credible explanation for firing the four shots that killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

This would be the State’s second challenge of a ruling by Masipa. It first challenged her finding that Pistorius was guilty of culpable homicide. In October 2014, Masipa sentenced Pistorius to five years behind bars for culpable homicide.

On December 3 last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that it agreed with the State. It overturned Masipa’s verdict, replaced it with one of murder, and instructed Masipa to sentence Pistorius afresh.

Nel said Masipa should have taken as her starting point the prescribed minimum sentences when deciding on a jail term for Pistorius. The minimum sentence for murder is 15 years.

The defence said the State’s appeal was an insult to Masipa’s judgment and it ignored the circumstances considered during Pistorius’ trial.

In the early hours of February 14, 2013, Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times through the locked door of the toilet in his Silver Woods Country Estate home. He claimed he thought there was an intruder behind the door about to emerge and harm him, and that Reeva was still in bed.

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