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Court to rule on Oscar Pistorius appeal today

Court to rule on Oscar Pistorius appeal today
Prosecution lawyers applied for an appeal after Judge Thokozile Masipa in October sentenced the Paralympic gold medallist to five years in jail after a trial that attracted worldwide interest.

The judge found him guilty of culpable homicide, also known as manslaughter, rather than a more serious charge of murdering Reeva Steenkamp.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued in appeal papers filed last month that Judge Masipa misinterpreted the law when she ruled Pistorius did not intentionally shoot Steenkamp, describing the sentence as “shockingly light” and “inappropriate.”

Pistorius, a South African athletics superstar after the double amputee competed against able-bodied runners in the Olympics, can qualify for house arrest after serving one sixth of his sentence- 10 months behind bars, which would mean he could serve the majority of his sentence outside prison walls.

Should Judge Masipa grant the appeal, the case will be heard in South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, the country’s judicial capital. Pistorius admits shooting Steenkamp four times through a locked toilet door on Valentine’s Day 2013.

But the judge may not necessarily grant the appeal, siding with defence lawyers representing the athlete who say her interpretation of the law was correct.

If Masipa refuses to grant the appeal, the state can petition the decision, a common legal strategy in South Africa.
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