Oscar Pistorius Faces Murder Sentence After SA Appeals Court Overturned Earlier Verdict

Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius will have to return to court for a murder trial, after a South African appeals court overturned an earlier manslaughter ruling.

The Olympic medalist was convicted of culpable homicide last year, after he shot and killed his model-girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s day in 2013.

Pistorius was handed a five-year jail term but was released on October 19, to continue under house arrest, after spending only one year of his original sentence in jail.

A panel of five judges at South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the lower court which initially heard the case, did not correctly apply the rule of dolus eventualis – whether Pistorius knew that a death would be a likely result of his actions.

Reading the ruling, Justice Lorimer Leach said that having armed himself with a high-calibre weapon, Pistorius must have foreseen that whoever was behind the door might die.

Justice Leach compared it to someone setting off a bomb in a public place not knowing who the victims might be.

Pistorius always maintained that he believed that there was an intruder in the house but the judge said that the identity of the person behind the door was irrelevant.

The 28-year-old could face not less 15-year jail term, which is the minimum sentence for murder, but judges can apply some discretion.

However, Pistorius and his lawyers can challenge the ruling in the constitutional court, only if they can argue that his constitutional rights have been violated.