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State appeals Oscar Pistorius jail sentence

04 November 2017

The Oscar Pistorius case has returned to court in South Africa, with prosecutors seeking a longer sentence after the double-amputee athlete was found guilty of murder for shooting his girlfriend.

Pistorius was sentenced to six years' imprisonment for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013.

On September 18, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku confirmed the date for the hearing. The court overturned Masipa's verdict of culpable homicide — or manslaughter — and convicted Pistorius of murder.

This is the second time prosecutors have gone to the Supreme Court in the city of Bloemfontein to challenge a decision by Judge Thokozile Masipa, who presided over Pistorius's trial.

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But the State still feels that the Pistorius has not been punished harshly enough, calling the sentence imposed by the North Gauteng High Court "shockingly lenient".

The prosecution successfully appealed to have his conviction upgraded, in late 2015.

State prosecutor Andrea Johnson argued high court judge Thokozile Masipa did not take into account the brutality of the crime, and the fact that he armed himself with a high calibre weapon and ammunition which was created to "mushroom on striking a soft target such as human flesh".

Legal analysts say, however, it is more hard to get the court to change a sentence.

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Roux said Masipa had addressed the misperception that Pistorius deliberately killed Steenkamp.

"We don't have substantial and compelling circumstances to justify a lesser sentence", chief porsecutor Andrea Johnson told the courtroom.

Ms Johnson said Mr Pistorius had shown no "genuine" remorse.

Judge Masipa's initial sentence was appropriate in the circumstances, Pistorius's defence lawyers said, and his disability was not exaggerated.

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"Of course his disability is mentioned, but it can't not be mentioned", defense lawyer Kelly Phelps said.

State appeals Oscar Pistorius jail sentence