South African prosecutors seek Pistorius murder charge | News | DW | 03.11.2015
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South African prosecutors seek Pistorius murder charge

Addressing South Africa's supreme court, state prosecutors have argued for overturning Oscar Pistorius' conviction. The former athlete was released last month after serving under a year in prison for culpable homicide.

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Murder conviction sought against Pistorius

At the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, South African state prosecutors on Tuesday argued in favor of overturning Paralympics sprinter Oscar Pistorius' conviction of culpable homicide to murder.

Last year, a disgraced Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide, equivalent to manslaughter in South Africa's judicial system.

After spending nearly a year in prison on a five-year sentence, Pistorius was released and placed under house arrest on October 19 under a South African law that dictates non-dangerous prisoners should only serve one-sixth of their sentence.

The 28-year-old athlete said he believed there was an intruder in his house when he fired four bullets in the bathroom, killing his then-partner Reeva Steenkamp.

The state prosecutors said Pistorius' sentence was "shockingly light, inappropriate," and added that "not enough emphasis was placed on the horrendous manner" in which Pistorious' former girlfriend died, according to Reuters news agency.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel began the case stating Pistorius intended on killing whoever was behind the door.

Five supreme court justices will hear arguments by the state and defense, after which they will decide on a date to announce their decision. Legal experts are unsure of the outcome due to several unexpected turns in the case.

"The possibilities are to dismiss the appeal, uphold the appeal or refer it back to the trial court - which I think is very unlikely - for resentencing or retrial," Martin Hood, a South African criminal lawyer, told AFP news agency.

Prior to the killing of Steenkamp in 2013, Pistorius was hailed as a role-model for disabled athletes after winning several gold medals at the Olympic level.

ls/kms (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)

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