It looks like Oscar Pistorius could be heading back to the courtroom as Judge Thokozile Masipa has ruled that prosecutors can appeal against the acquittal of the murder charges against him.

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius

Masipa threw out the charges of murder against Pistorius earlier this year and charged him with the culpable homicide of girlfriend Reeve Steenkamp - a verdict that saw the Paralympian sentenced to five years in prison. However, Pistorius is only expected to serve a year of the sentence before he is released on house arrest.

The prosecution can now appeal against her verdict of culpable homicide and Pistorius could still be convicted of murder, for which he could receive a fifteen-year jail sentence.

However, the appeal case will not be heard until next year, by which time Pistorius could be out of jail and serving the rest of his sentence under house arrest.

Pistorious admitted to shooting Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013, through a locked toilet door, but denied that he had planned to murder her. Pistorius claimed that he thought that there was an intruder in the house and fired the gun out of self-defence without realising that it was Steenkamp who was in the bathroom at the time.

The prosecution failed to convince the judge that this was indeed a case of pre-meditated murder, and Judge Masipa reduced the verdict from murder to culpable homicide.

In court today, Judge Masipa was satisfied that Gerrie Nel - who was the lead lawyer for the prosecution - had raised 'questions of law' and ruled in favour of the prosecution. Speaking in court Judge Masipa said: "I cannot say … that the prospect of success at the supreme court of appeal is remote. The application therefore in respect of count one is decided in favour of the applicant."

The case will now go before South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal next year. However, Pistorius' defence team have expressed their dismay at the appeal request being granted.

Pistorius is currently serving his time in Kgosi Mampuru II prison, where he will remain until the start of the appeal hearing. The appeal will come before a panel of judges at the Supreme Court who will consider if Judge Masipa should have considered the principle of dolus evantualis instead of culpable homicide.

Dolus Evantualis is where the accused can see that his/her actions could result in death should they persist. Should the panel of judge's side in favour of the prosecution that this was indeed the case, then Pistorius could find himself facing a murder charge once more.

The prosecution have always called the sentence of Pistorius 'shockingly inappropriate' while groups that are against domestic violence also spoke out slamming the verdict that was handed down in October.


by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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