Judge Masipa dismisses State's application to appeal Oscar sentence


Judge Thokozile Masipa on Friday dismissed the State's application for leave to appeal the six-year sentence that she handed down to former Paralympian, Oscar Pistorius, in July with costs.

“I have considered all arguments for and against.

“I am not persuaded that there are reasonable prospects of success for an appeal, or that another court may find [my ruling] differently,” she said.

In the morning, State prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, said the main arguments for the appeal were that it seemed Pistorius had been given an all too lenient sentence for factors that should not have been relevant to the case.

Nel said that there is a difference between regret and genuine remorse for a person’s crimes, and that they could not be sure of Pistorius, as he elected not to testify and did not give them an acceptable reason as to why he made those four shots at a closed door.

“With the judgement of the SCA (Supreme Court of Appeal) known to the accused, where the SCA said on more than one occasion that the reason for the firing of the shots was not known, we really just don’t know, while knowing that exists, the accused elected not to testify,” said Nel.

He then stated that it was shocking that Pistorius only received a minimum sentence of 6 years when the minimum sentence for murder is 15 years in South Africa.

“The court failed to appreciate that the starting point in the present matter was a sentence of 15 years imprisonment. To have reduced the sentence from 15 years to 6 years for murder, notwithstanding the mitigating factors or circumstances of the respondent, induces a sense of shock,” said Nel.

He said that the vulnerability of the accused was used as a mitigating factor for his sentencing when it should not have.

“We say that the court erred in regarding of the vulnerability of the accused as a mitigating factor,

If somebody is armed with a firearm, a lethal firearm, loaded with ammunition that would devastate, such a person is formidable, not vulnerable,” said Nel.

Defence says Pistorius being prejudiced against

Following after Nel, the Defence, Barry Roux, also argued why the appeal should be dismissed.

Roux’s main argument was that the accused was being met with prejudice, and that certain factors were being let out and ignored in the state’s argument.

“Unfortunately, I see a lot of prejudice against the accused coming from the states side, especially in the submissions,” said Roux.

He then went on to say that he was proud of the judgement handed down by the judiciary, and that it was not only 6 years that were handed down on the accused, but also the time he has already served previously, as well as the house arrest.

“The court repeatedly said in the sentencing judgement that they take into account the sentence already served, the correctional supervision, the detention thereafter. The state just ignores it, as if it never existed, as if the sentence is an isolated six years, it’s not,” said Roux.

He said that this case has been completely exhausted and that the court should dismiss the case.

Nel then argued that house arrest should not count as time for imprisonment, that even eight years is still too lenient.

“We are saying that it is strikingly inappropriate, if one starts at 15 years, it cannot get to six My Lady, we can get to twelve but we cannot get to six,” said Nel. 

Reeva Steenkamp's parents, June and Barry, had said that, while they have always fully supported Nel and his team’s fight for justice for Reeva, they had no input in the decision of the state to appeal the six-year sentence.

Still some law experts had maintained Judge Masipa was simply following the law.

Some also believe Oscar is innocent and that the State is just trying to make an example with him.

WATCH: The moment Oscar Pistorius heard his sentence, video courtesy of Global Leaks Youtube Channel;