Attempt to appeal against ‘shockingly lenient’ Pistorius sentence rejected

A South African judge has rejected an application by state prosecutors to appeal against Oscar Pistorius’ six-year murder sentence, saying the petition had no reasonable prospects of success.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel had argued that the sentence for murdering Reeva Steenkamp was “shockingly lenient and disturbingly inappropriate”.

But judge Thokozile Masipa on Friday rejected the application to appeal against the sentence at the supreme court.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013, saying he mistook her for a burglar when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet.

Reeva St

At his sentencing in July, Masipa listed mitigating factors for giving him less than half the minimum 15-year term for murder, including the athlete’s claim he believed he was shooting an intruder.

“I’m of the view that a long term of imprisonment will not serve justice,” Masipa said.

But Nel argued that the six-year sentence was flawed and that it should be appealed against.

Masipa was the judge who had already convicted Pistorious of the lesser crime of culpable Homicide , the equivalent of manslaughter. An appeals court upgraded his conviction to murder in December.

Pistorius’s defence said it was an “insult” to suggest that the court’s sentencing had been flawed and that it was time the case came to a close. “Enough is enough. What does the state want?” defence lawyer Barry Roux said.

“This process has been exhausted beyond the point of exhaustion,” he added, accusing the prosecution of sending Pistorius “like a ping pong ball between courts”.

Pistorius, who pleaded not guilty at his trial in 2014, has always denied killing Steenkamp in a rage, saying he was trying to protect her.

The year before he killed Steenkamp, Pistorius – known as “the Blade Runner” – became the first double-amputee to race at Olympic level when he appeared at the London 2012 Games.

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