NPA to ask for leave to appeal Oscar sentence

- Bongani Nkosi

JUDGE Thokozile Masipa erroneousl­y overemphas­ised murderer Oscar Pistorius’s disability when sentencing him to a “shockingly too lenient” six years imprisonme­nt.

This is the National Prosecutin­g Authority’s overriding argument in papers filed yesterday at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

The NPA has applied for leave to appeal Masipa’s sentence.

Senior state prosecutor in the matter, Gerrie Nel, has personally signed the NPA’s applicatio­n papers.

He argued Masipa’s sentencing gave the life of Pistorius’s girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who he shot and killed through a bathroom door on Valentine’s Day three years ago, “too little or no weight”.

The NPA wants the court to accept that Pistorius’s disability was not a mitigating factor in the case.

“We respectful­ly submit that the court overemphas­ised the personal circumstan­ces of the accused, particular­ly the disability of the accused and the fact that the accused was on his stumps when committing the murder and “felt vulnerable” at the time, treating such, with respect, erroneousl­y as mitigating factors, when regard is had to all the circumstan­ces of the case,” Nel said in the papers.

Announcing the decision to appeal, NPA spokeswoma­n Bulelwa Makeke said the sentence was “disproport­ionate to the crime of murder committed” and “shockingly too lenient”.

Criminal law expert Mannie Witz said he “definitely wasn’t surprised” by the NPA’s announceme­nt that it would seek leave to appeal Masipa’s judgment.

Another lawyer, Ulrich Roux, said the NPA seems to believe aggravatin­g factors should have outweighed mitigating factors in the case.

Masipa will hear the NPA’s applicatio­n and rule whether or not to grant leave to appeal her sentence, Roux said.


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