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South African court rejects state appeal for a longer jail sentence for Pistorius

State prosecutors said Oscar Pistorius’ six year term for killing his girlfriend is inappropriate.

Image: Themba Hadebe

A SOUTH AFRICAN JUDGE today rejected the state’s appeal seeking a longer sentence for Paralympian Oscar Pistorius who is serving a six year term for killing his girlfriend three years ago.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said in the High Court in Johannesburg that she was not persuaded there was a “reasonable prospect of success on appeal”.

“I grant the following order: the application for leave to appeal against the sentence is dismissed with costs,” said Masipa.

Push for a longer sentence 

South African prosecutors were pushing for a longer sentence stating the jail term for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was “disturbingly inappropriate”.

“The sentence of six years is shockingly lenient and disturbingly inappropriate,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued in court, as the state sought permission to appeal the sentence handed to the athlete last month.

South Africa Pistorius - Triumphs and Trials - Glance File photo a mourner holds a funeral program with a portrait of Reeva Steenkamp. Source: Schalk van Zuydam

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.

At his sentencing in July, High Court judge Thokozile 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.

South Africa Pistorius Sentencing South Africa's chief state prosecutor Gerrie Nel speaks during the state appeal against Oscar Pistorius's six year murder sentence at the high court in Johannesburg today. Source: Themba Hadebe

“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.

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.

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