Johannesburg - The prosecution in the Oscar Pistorius trial has set in motion a process to have Judge Thokozile Masipa’s decision to convict him of culpable homicide instead of murder reviewed.
With Judge Masipa granting them leave to appeal the conviction in December, the State had to file its intention to appeal by February 10 – and it did so.
“We filed notice (to Pistorius’s lawyers) on February 6 and notice was filed at the high court in Pretoria and the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on February 9,” said National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Velekhaya Mgobhozi.
The State now has three months to file six copies of the trial record and then its heads of argument – not exceeding 40 pages – six weeks later.
The defence will then have a month to file responding papers, after which the deputy judge president will place the matter on the roll and notify the parties involved of the date of return.
Mgobhozi could not indicate if the State had petitioned for an urgent enrolment for the appeal to be heard sooner.
With the defence likely to file its papers only in July – a month before Pistorius is released from prison to serve the rest of his five-year jail term under house arrest – it had been hoped the matter would be fast-tracked so that it could be finalised before the 10-month direct imprisonment lapses.
The Paralympian was sentenced in terms of section 276 1(i) of the Criminal Procedure Act, meaning he is serving only one-sixth of his sentence before being released and placed under correctional supervision.
The State had hoped for a conviction on a murder charge, arguing he had gunned down his model girlfriend Reeva Steen- kamp in a fit of rage following a heated argument in the early hours of February 14, 2013.
But Judge Masipa found that “the State has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder”.
Saturday marks two years since Pistorius fired four shots through the toilet door in his bathroom, killing Steenkamp.