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Judge sets date for Oscar appeal

South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius attends his murder trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on March 11, 2014. Oscar Pistorius's murder trial was set to hear more details on the autopsy of his slain girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a day after the star sprinter threw up as he listened to a graphic account of the gunshot injuries he inflicted on his lover. AFP PHOTO / POOL / KEVIN SUTHERLAND (Photo credit should read Kevin Sutherland/AFP/Getty Images)

South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius attends his murder trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on March 11, 2014. Oscar Pistorius's murder trial was set to hear more details on the autopsy of his slain girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a day after the star sprinter threw up as he listened to a graphic account of the gunshot injuries he inflicted on his lover. AFP PHOTO / POOL / KEVIN SUTHERLAND (Photo credit should read Kevin Sutherland/AFP/Getty Images)

Published Nov 7, 2014

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Pretoria - Judge Thokozile Masipa will hear the State’s application for leave to appeal her Oscar Pistorius judgment and sentencing on November 18.

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She found Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide and imposed a five-year jail sentence, in terms of which he must serve 10 months.

The application will be heard in the High Court in Johannesburg, as the judge is back in that court for the remainder of this court term.

The defence has not yet filed opposing papers, but it will defend the application.

Pistorius’s lawyer, Brian Webber, on Friday morning confirmed they will oppose the leave to appeal. “We have already filed our notice of intention to oppose and will in due course file our grounds in this regard.”

Webber was surprised that a date had been set when contacted by Independent Media and said he has not yet been informed of the date.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel is expected to ask Judge Masipa for leave to appeal to the Appeal Court in Bloemfontein, especially as this is a high-profile case and matters in law regarding the conviction will be argued.

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The State, in its papers filed on Tuesday, said it is confident that another court would come to a different finding, on appeal, than the one reached by Judge Masipa.

According to Nel, the judge erred in law when she made a finding of culpable homicide, instead of murder. He said she incorrectly applied the principles of Dolus Eventualis to the accepted facts in the case.

He said the judge rejected the circumstantial evidence relating to the events of February 14 last year, when Pistorius shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, behind the closed toilet door of his home. Pistorius has claimed he thought she was an intruder.

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Nel said Judge Masipa “trawled through the plethora of defences” provided by Pistorius and she picked one for him.

He also objected to the sentencing, saying the judge was far too lenient.

According to Nel, the judge overemphasised Pistorius's personal circumstances and did not place enough emphasis on the horrendous manner in which Steenkamp was killed.

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