Oscar Pistorius’ legal team will face the State again in the appeal court in November, in what could be the final stretch in a marathon three-year battle to keep him behind bars.
In November, the Blade Runner’s defence counsel will face off with the State in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, which wants his six-year sentence for murder replaced with 15 years instead.
In its second appeal, the State will be led by Advocate Andrea Johnson, who takes over the reins from former State prosecutor Advocate Gerrie Nel.Nel resigned from the National Prosecuting Authority earlier this year to join AfriForum.Pistorius was initially sentenced to five years for culpable homicide in 2014 for killing his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The self-proclaimed gun enthusiast had fired four shots through a bathroom door on Valentine’s Day in 2013, claiming that he believed there was an intruder in the bathroom.
Pistorius served only 10 months of the five-year sentence in prison before being released and put under house arrest.
The State appealed the conviction and the culpable homicide conviction was later replaced with murder by the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2016.
In the days leading up to the 2016 sentencing for murder in the High Court in Pretoria, the former athlete appeared in an exclusive interview with the UK’s ITV. The interview elicited little sympathy for Pistorius. Judge Thokozile Masipa, who sentenced Pistorius previously, handed down a six-year jail term for murder. Nel then petitioned the Supreme Court of Appeal directly, arguing that the six-year sentence was far too lenient.
Masipa, who was criticised for having found Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide instead of murder, said she was not convinced that there was a reasonable prospect of success in another court.
Last month Pistorius, who had been transferred from Kgosi Mampuru II prison to Atteridgeville prison, both in Pretoria, in November 2016, was allegedly taken to hospital after falling ill. It was never established what ailed Pistorius.
Pistorius is eligible for parole in two years, pending the outcome of the appeal which will be heard on November 3.