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Prosecutors seek longer sentence for Pistorius

Published:Wednesday | November 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

STELLENBOSCH, South Africa (AP):

Prosecutors in the Oscar Pistorius case filed appeal papers yesterday, saying they believe a judge did not correctly apply the law when she found the Olympic athlete not guilty of murder for shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The prosecutors also said they were appealing against the "shockingly light" five-year prison sentence Pistorius was given for manslaughter, as well as a third decision by Judge Thokozile Masipa to acquit the double-amputee runner of illegal possession of ammunition for bullets found in his home.

South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority said it had filed for leave to appeal those verdicts and sentence, the first step in a process that could still see Pistorius convicted of murder and sent to prison for at least 15 years for killing Steenkamp.

Prosecutors must first ask Masipa - the red-robed judge who oversaw Pistorius' murder trial - for permission to appeal against her decisions. If permitted, Pistorius' case will go to the Supreme Court of Appeal, where it would be reviewed by a panel of judges, another legal battle for the world-famous runner whose murder trial lasted seven months and left him broke, according to his defence lawyers.

Masipa acquitted Pistorius, 27, of murder for shooting Steenkamp multiple times through a toilet cubicle door on February 14, 2013 and instead convicted him of a lesser charge of culpable homicide, or manslaughter.


In the appeal papers, chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel and assistant prosecutor Andrea Johnson questioned if Masipa correctly applied a section of the law called dolus eventualis when she acquitted on murder. Dolus eventualis says a person should be found guilty of murder if they realised their actions might cause someone's death and went ahead anyway, and that person died.

Pistorius shot four times through a door and into the small cubicle from close range, hitting the 29-year-old Steenkamp in the head, arm and hip.

Pistorius' claim that he mistook his girlfriend for a nighttime intruder also was not a defence against murder, the prosecution appeal said, as there was no attack on him that justified killing in self-defence.