Oscar Pistorius is seen under police escourt on the streets of Pretoria on 16 Otober 2014. It was during lunch break of day four of his sentencing week in the North Gauteng High Court. Picture: eNCA/ Lenyaro Sello.
PRETORIA – While Oscar Pistorius finds out on Friday whether he will get parole, his lawyers are fighting an appeal which could see him stay in jail for many more years.
Pistorius’s lawyers say the Supreme Court of Appeal cannot overturn his conviction of culpable homicide in favour of murder.
Instead, they say, the best the State can hope for is a retrial and that would be grossly unfair.
Pistorius’s legal team is responding to the State’s appeal against his culpable homicide conviction which is due to be heard in November.
Judge Thokozile Masipa has faced criticism for acquitting Pistorius of murder and instead finding that he accidentally shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Her decision has been slammed by the National Prosecuting Authority, which says it isn’t legally sound.
The NPA has argued Pistorius must have known, when he fired the four shots into the toilet door, that whoever was behind it, would die. He should, they argue, be found guilty of committing murder with indirect intent.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel has said that they have a reasonable prospect of success on appeal.
Pistorius’s lawyers disagree, arguing the State does not have a legal basis to bring its appeal in the first place – because their challenge isn’t based on the judge’s legal interpretation but rather her evaluation of the evidence.
And, even if the State does show that Judge Masipa misapplied the law, they argue, the only option the Appeal Court has is to refer this case back for a retrial.
That, they say, would violate the principle of double jeopardy – that you cannot be tried for the same crime twice.