The Pretoria High Court judge who sentenced South African athlete Oscar Pistorius to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend accepted on Wednesday an appeal submitted by the prosecution against the verdict.
Judge Thokozile Masipa asked the Supreme Court of Appeals in Bloemfontein to assess whether she was mistaken in determining that Pistorius did not intentionally shoot his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the judge erred in the verdict, which was why he was challenging the sentence. Nel opposed the verdict that found Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide, instead of imposing the minimum 15-year sentence for premeditated murder.
The judge accepted the prosecution’s contention that legal grounds existed to appeal the sentence, while pointing out that she did not err in her interpretation of the circumstances of the case.
Nel argued that Judge Masipa misinterpreted the law when she cleared Pistorius of murder, since she decided he did not intentionally shoot Steenkamp Feb 14, 2013.
The spokesperson for the prosecution, Nathi Mncube, expressed “satisfaction” with the decision at the end of Wednesday’s hearing.
Pistorius was transferred Oct 21 to Pretoria’s Kgosi Mampuru II prison to serve the five-year sentence. He could be eligible for parole and house arrest after serving 10 months.
The appeal will likely be heard next year, said the spokesman for the prosecution.
The double-amputee became the first athlete with a disability in history to participate in the London 2012 Olympic Games competing alongside able-bodied athletes.