Oscar in fight over state’s appeal


OSCAR Pistorius is fighting back against the state’s fresh bid to have him convicted of murder.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Velekhaya Mgobhozi said yesterday that Pistorius’s lawyers wanted to challenge Judge Thokozile Masipa’s decision to grant the state leave to appeal against her judgment.

“I can confirm that we have received notices from the defence and we will be appearing before Judge Masipa [next month],” Mgobhozi said.

In September, Masipa convicted Pistorius, 28, in the Pretoria High Court of culpable homicide for the death of his girlfriend, former Port Elizabeth model Reeva Steenkamp, 29.

The disabled athlete shot Steenkamp through the door of a toilet cubicle in his Pretoria home on February 14 2013.

But in December, Masipa granted the prosecution leave to appeal against her decision to convict Pistorius of culpable homicide instead of murder, as well as against the sentence.

She agreed that there were certain questions of law for the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to consider and these might have an outcome on her verdict.

Pistorius’s defence team opposed the prosecution’s application.

Last week, the state officially filed notice of its intention to appeal with the Pretoria High Court, the defence lawyers and the SCA.

Pistorius’s lawyer, Brian Webber, would not comment yesterday.

Someone in Pistorius’s camp who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that his lawyers were seeking leave to appeal against Masipa’s judgment on the basis that the state’s appeal was not based on points of law.

In October last year Masipa sentenced Pistorius to five years in prison with possible correctional supervision after a sixth of his sentence. He could be out in August.

-Nomahlubi Jordaan and Penelope Mashego

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