On Tuesday, the state appealed Oscar Pistorius’ culpable homicide conviction in an attempt to overturn the verdict to murder.
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) heard arguments from both sides of the case from Pistorius’ lawyer Barry Roux and state prosecutor Gerrie Nel.
News24 reports that Judge Eric Leach directed tough questions at Roux and that both sides had valid arguments.
A judgement was not made on Tuesday, and News24 spoke to experts who believe that the final verdict can go either way:
Defence attorney Ulrich Roux said it was clear that Barry Roux had to think on his feet.
“Judge [Eric] Leach was very hard on Barry Roux and asked him some difficult questions especially pertaining to how it is possible that the respondent, or Oscar, could not have foreseen that firing those shots into the door could lead to the death of a person.”
He said the definition of dolus eventualis, as pointed out by Leach, was not about whether your actions led to the death of a specific person but rather related to the actual death of a person.
After the court was adjourned, the pool microphones were not turned off yet and Roux was heard telling Nel that he was going to “lose”. Nel refused to comment on the statement, stating the the microphones should have been switched off:
Bloemfontein – State prosecutor Gerrie Nel said on Tuesday he could not comment on the context in which Oscar Pistorius’s advocate Barry Roux had told him that he, Roux, was going to “lose”.
“No, I can’t. You should speak to Roux about it,” Nel told News24, smiling as he wheeled his briefcase across the Supreme Court of Appeal courtyard to the exit.
Roux did not answer his phone or respond to a text message for clarification.
After court adjourned on Tuesday afternoon, pool microphones for the broadcast picked up Roux and Nel chatting after proceedings, which had been broadcast live.
Jenna Etheridge writes that the Pistorius family did not attend the appeal, as the purpose of the meeting was to focus on the legalities pertaining to the case:
Bloemfontein – The family of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius did not attend an appeal against his conviction in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.
Their spokesperson Anneliese Burgess said one of the reasons for their absence at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) was to ensure that the focus remained on the legal issues.
“It has been the family’s position throughout that the legal process should be allowed to run its course,” she said after the SCA reserved judgment.
“The family feels it is inappropriate to comment on this matter while the Appeal Court deliberates.”
The Guardian explained yesterday’s proceedings:
Pistorius is not present at the one-day hearing in Bloemfontein, 400km (250 miles) south-west of Johannesburg, his lawyer Barry Roux told Reuters.
A panel of five judges are hearing the appeal, and could either order a retrial, convict Pistorius of murder, or reject the prosecution’s appeal, legal experts have said.
“The [high] court not only approached the circumstantial evidence incorrectly, but also incorrectly excluded relevant evidence,” prosecutors said in documents filed at the court.
Nel argued that Pistorius cannot escape a murder verdict, based on the objective facts. The Week reports on the state’s strategy and explains why the state has a strong case for murder:
“On the objective facts, the accused cannot escape a verdict of murder,” Nel has told the court.
He claims Masipa ignored circumstantial evidence, looking at it piece by piece, rather than as a “mosaic”.
Pistorius offered conflicting defences, such as self-defence to justify the shooting but then a lack of intention to kill, says Nel. He insists that the fact Pistorius fired four shots into a toilet door shows his intention to kill a person, regardless of whether he knew it was Steenkamp or if he believed it was an intruder.
Yesterday, the ANC Women’s League in the Motheo District told OFM that they would like to see Pistorius back behind bars and that the final sentence would satisfy Reeva and the women of the country.
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