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Oscar Pistorius’ Supreme Fight: Murder or culpable homicide?

Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius continues to be in the fight of his life.

The Paralympian and Olympian’s freedom centres around the State’s appeal to the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the previous verdict of culpable homicide.

State advocate Gerrie Nel is arguing that the verdict returned should have been murder instead—in effect, a call for a stiffer sentence for the amputee.

Pistorius was earlier sentenced to a five-year term in prison. He has since been released after serving ten months. He was expected to finish the rest of his sentence at his uncle’s Waterkloof home under strict bail conditions. South African laws permit prisoners to released after serving one-sixth of their sentence if they are deemed not a threat to society.

If Pistorius is convicted of murder, he will face at least 15 years behind bars.

The South African was convicted of killing his then model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

The athlete fired four shots through a toilet door claiming there was an intruder in his luxury Silver Lakes, Pretoria, house.

The bullets killed Steenkamp.

The new judgment hinges on Pistorius’ state of mind when he let loose the volley of shots—whether he believed that they would kill.

English: South African Paralympic runner Oscar...

South African Paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius (born 22 November 1986), taking part in the Landsmót ungmennafélags Íslands in Kópavogur, Iceland, the largest sporting event in Iceland which is held every three years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The judges have to take into account that the defendant is handicapped and would have been unable to escape easily from his home.

Professor Stephen Tucson, who teaches criminal law and procedure at Wits University, believes that the State has a strong case.

He said:

“The consensus of opinion seems to suggest that the SCA has the power to change the verdict. There are two options. If they say there was an error and order a new trial, it will go to any other judge but a re-sentencing… will go back to Judge Masipa.”

(This is part I in a series).


I have been an IT professional with over 12 years professional experience. I'm an B.Sc. in Statistics, M.Sc in Computer Science (University of Mumbai) and an MBA from the Cyprus International Institute of Management. I'm also a finance student and have completed levels I and II of the CFA course. Blogging is a part-time vocation until I land a full-time position. I am also the author of three books, Those Glory Days: Cricket World Cup 2011, IPL Vignettes and Poems: An Anthology, all available on Amazon Worldwide.


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