South African court rejects Pistorius’s appeal

Pretoria, March 13:

Star paralympian Oscar Pistorius had his murder conviction appeal struck off the roll on Friday.

Oscar Pistorius with girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius with girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

“Accordingly, the order that I give in this matter is to strike off the application,” Judge Thokozile Masipa was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

The application was “ridiculous” and had no precedent in South African law, prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the Pretoria High Court.

Granting an application would make the case “never-ending,” he added.

State prosecutors were given permission to appeal this verdict after arguing that Masipa had erred on a point of law, reports Xinhua

“It’s clear and I say it with the utmost respect. But this court has no inherit jurisdiction at all, even the constitution court has no inherit jurisdiction. So, therefore, … as the creature of statute, this court has no right to hear this application,” Nel said.

Pistorius submitted the application to prevent the state from appealing his culpable homicide conviction in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Pistorius’s lawyer Barry Roux had applied for the defence to be given “leave” to appeal the state’s right to appeal.

He argued that the state was not trying to appeal the manslaughter conviction on a point of law, but on a “factual matter”.

Masipa struck out the application, saying “nothing new” was added by the defence counsel in their submissions.

The athlete was sentenced in September last year to five years in prison, of which he’s expected to serve less than a year. The state wants him to be convicted on the more serious charge of murder.

Pistorius’s foiled bid means that the athlete could be convicted of murder for shooting dead his former model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013. Pistorius said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.

Meanwhile, the next hearing will be held at South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on a date to be announced.

During the 2012 Summer Olympics, Pistorius became the first amputee runner to compete at an Olympic Games, taking second place in the 400m race with a finishing time of 45.44 seconds. IANS

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