Oscar Pistorius case: Court sets November for appeal

AP News
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Posted: Jun 08, 2015 7:38 AM

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius' case will go in front of South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal in November, the court said Monday, when prosecutors will challenge the decision to acquit him of murder for shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius would again face the possibility of a murder conviction and a minimum of 15 years in prison if a panel of judges at the Supreme Court of Appeal overturns the original decision in his murder trial.

The court has not yet set an exact date for the appeal, court registrar Paul Myburgh told The Associated Press, but it will be in November. That will be three months after Pistorius is eligible for release from prison to serve the remainder of his current sentence, for a culpable homicide conviction, under house arrest.

Pistorius was acquitted of murder last year for killing Steenkamp in 2013 by shooting her multiple times through a closed toilet door in his Pretoria home. The runner claimed he mistook Steenkamp for a nighttime intruder.

He was convicted instead of culpable homicide, a charge similar to manslaughter, and sentenced to five years in a jail in the South African capital, Pretoria.

Prosecutors appealed the decision by trial Judge Thokozile Masipa, saying the double-amputee Olympic athlete should have been found guilty of murder. In December, Masipa granted prosecutors permission to appeal her finding at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Supreme Court of Appeal registrar Myburgh said that chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel and defense lawyer Barry Roux have already met with the president of the court.

Some of the details of the appeal hearing have been ironed out: Prosecutors must submit their court papers outlining their argument by Aug. 17. Pistorius' defense team must submit its response by Sept. 17, Myburgh said.