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scar Pis­to­rius’ lawyers have won the latest round of his le­gal bat­tles.

This week, state ad­vo­cate Ger­rie Nel tried to con­vince the Supreme Court of Ap­peal (SCA) it should read ev­ery word of the trial to de­ter­mine whether Pis­to­rius was guilty of the mur­der of his girl­friend, Reeva Steenkamp, rather than of the cul­pa­ble homi­cide charge on which he was con­victed.

But Pis­to­rius’ ad­vo­cate, Barry Roux SC, ar­gued that the ap­peal court judges should read only the “rel­e­vant parts” of the court record.

SCA pres­i­dent Judge Lex Mpati agreed with Roux that the 31 vol­umes should be short­ened. Af­ter this was done, “a good many” fewer vol­umes were handed to the court.

Nel now has un­til Au­gust 28 – a week af­ter Pis­to­rius is set to be re­leased on cor­rec­tive su­per­vi­sion – to file the state’s ap­peal ap­pli­ca­tion pa­pers.

Pis­to­rius was sen­tenced to five years in prison in Oc­to­ber last year af­ter he shot and killed Steenkamp through the bath­room door of his lux­ury home on Valen­tine’s Day in 2013.

Ear­lier this year, the pa­role board de­cided he could be re­leased on cor­rec­tive su­per­vi­sion af­ter he had served a sixth of his sen­tence.

If the SCA rules Pis­to­rius was not merely neg­li­gent but that he in­tended to shoot Steenkamp, his sen­tence may be ad­justed.

Crim­i­nal lawyer Jaco du Plessis said it was too bad the SCA did not want to study the com­plete court record be­cause it would have given them a more com­plete pic­ture of the events.

“How­ever, in my opin­ion, this ap­peal is purely aca­demic. I think the state is wast­ing its time and the ap­peal is sour grapes,” he said.

Llewe­lyn Curlewis, also a crim­i­nal lawyer, said a dif­fer­ent sen­tence could be im­posed on Pis­to­rius if the state suc­cess­fully con­vinced the SCA that it was mur­der rather than cul­pa­ble homi­cide. “In that case, his sen­tence has to be re­con­sid­ered and he could be sent to prison for a much longer time.

“It’s pos­si­ble that the ap­peal court judges see things in the court record that Nel, Roux and [ Judge Thokozile] Masipa missed. Whether they read 31 vol­umes or 20, read they will,” he said.

How­ever, Ad­vo­cate Jo­hann En­gel­brecht SC said a lot of ev­i­dence was pre­sented to Masipa that would play no role in the ap­peal court judges reach­ing a de­ci­sion on whether Pis­to­rius was cor­rectly con­victed of cul­pa­ble homi­cide or not.

Although Nel has con­tin­u­ally asked the court to look at “the whole pic­ture”, the rules of the SCA al­low the par­ties to limit the court record to the heart of the mat­ter, he said.

Mean­while Pis­to­rius’ fans are ex­cited about his im­pend­ing re­lease.

On a sup­port web­site for him, An­drea wrote him a poem called Just Run. Noccy Mthembu said she loved Pis­to­rius and wished him the best, and Amanda said it couldn’t rain on him for­ever, and sooner or later the sun would shine again.

“En­joy the rain­bows in the mean­time!” she wrote.

Os­car Pis­to­rius

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