State files Oscar appeal

A file picture dated 19 August 2013 shows South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius as he appears in the Pretoria Magistrates court in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on 12 September 2014. The sentence is expected to be announced on 21 October. EPA/STR

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has filed its papers at the Supreme Court of Appeal, where it is set to appeal Oscar Pistorius’ conviction for culpable homicide.

It is expected to call for the Paralympian’s conviction for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013, to be changed to murder.

“We can confirm that we filed our heads of argument at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein,” NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said.

“The defence will file their heads of argument on September 17.”

He added that a date will then be set for the matter to be heard.

This comes as Pistorius is set to be released on parole on Friday, where he will spend the rest of his five year sentence under house arrest. He would have spent less than 10 months in prison.

“The process of parole is parallel and not aligned to our appeal,” said Mfaku.

Pistorius shot four times through the door of a toilet cubicle of his home in Pretoria with his 9mm pistol loaded with lethal black talon ammunition. He has claimed to have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder.

Steenkamp’s parents, June and Barry, who were invited to participate in the parole application process, opposed his application. They stated that 10 months in prison did not send the right message to society.

In their submission they said: “…Incarceration of 10 months for taking a life is simply not enough. We fear that this will not send out the proper message and serve as the deterrent it should.”

In an interview with The Citizen, June Steenkamp said she had to forgive Pistorius in order to heal.

“I have forgiven him, I don’t wish him any harm what so ever. I want to move on now from this, because it’s like I have been dragged back, and that is not fair really. There are all sorts of things that draws from other people… It draws bad energies.

“Barry and my life is damaged, we are injured people. We have got injuries and that will never go away. And we have to try to live without her and that is very, very hard, because Reeva was a big light in our lives.

“She was a wonderful daughter, so loving and caring. God expects you to forgive what has happened even though you don’t get over your pain and suffering. It is almost like a cancer growing inside you.”

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