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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Prosecutors appeal against Oscar Pistorius' 'lenient' murder sentence




South African prosecutors say they are appealing against the six-year murder sentence handed to Oscar Pistorius last year.

South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal will hear the state's appeal against the jail term handed to the Paralympic gold medallist on November 3. Pistorius was jailed in 2016 for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, four years ago.

The National Prosecuting Authority will claim that the sentence he received was too short and should be increased.

"The state, in the papers, we stipulate clearly that the sentence imposed is shockingly low," said NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku.

"The presiding officer has the discretion to deviate from the minimum prescribed sentence when compelling and substantial circumstances exist.

Prosecutors appeal against Oscar Pistorius' 'lenient' murder sentence

"But... with this matter, the presiding officer exercised that discretion in a very lenient manner."

The NPA filed papers in September 2016 in an attempt to get the Supreme Court of Appeal to increase the athlete's jail term.

The 29-year-old runner shot and killed Ms Steenkamp at his home on Valentine's Day in 2013.

He initially served one year of a five-year prison sentence for manslaughter but the conviction was later overturned by an appeals court.

Pistorius was then convicted of the more serious charge of murder.

He could have been jailed for life but Judge Thokozile Masipa decided six years would be sufficient.

Pistorius has always insisted the shooting was a mistake, saying he thought an intruder had entered his home and he feared for his safety.

He fired four shots through a locked toilet door, hitting Ms Steenkamp in the head, hip and arm.

Pistorius claimed in court it was only when he battered down the door with a cricket bat that he realised who was behind it.



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