Oscar Pistorius has been convicted of murder by a South African appeals court, overturning his previous manslaughter conviction. Pistorius is still currently serving his ‘culpable homicide’ sentence under house arrest after killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February 2013, shooting four times through a locked bathroom door. After spending one year in a maximum security prison he was meant to spending the remaining years of his sentence in a mansion owned by his uncle.
The Appeals court heard State prosecutors argue that trial judge, Thokozile Masipa, came to the wrong conclusion when finding Pistorius not guilty of murder. The Chief prosecutor told the five judges on the bench that Masipa had made an error in her use of the legal principle ‘dolus eventualis’ the idea that it is wrong to conclude that Pistorius had not believed that firing his weapon four times into a locked door was likely to kill or injure person behind it. If Steenkamp had been in bed as Pistorius had thought, there was still an intent to kill the individual in his home. The prosecutors also argued that that the trial judge was incorrect in dismissing circumstantial evidence that is said to prove Pistorius and his version of events incorrect.
The court has now ordered that Pistorius be resentenced by the original trial judge in Pretoria. The minimum sentence in South Africa for murder, is 15 years in prison. Although the judge may use their discretion. Pistorius will be going back to prison as there is no provision in South African law for someone to be placed under house arrest for more than five years.
Reeva Steenkamp’s mother was seen crying on the stairs of the court after the judgement was made. Her father stated that now his family “could finally get on with their lives.” Whilst women’s groups such as the African National Congress Women’s League, welcomed the new conviction. “We are happy with what the judges decided today,” and “We want to say to men out there – let the killings of women stop.”
This high profile case has been followed closely by the Burn FM News Team. You can read more in our other articles or you can listen to our News talk show, The Topics, on Burnfm.com/news every Wednesday at 6pm where we will be covering the most current news around the world.