Oscar Pistorius loses appeal to overturn murder conviction for shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

By @giherela on
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Oscar Pistorius stands in the dock at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa for a bail hearing, December 8, 2015. Reuters/Herman Verwey

Oscar Pistorius’ hopes of staying out of jail have been dashed, as South Africa’s Constitutional Court this week dismissed his appeal to overturn his murder conviction.

The Paralympian was found guilty of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013, admitting at his trial that he had killed her unintentionally and unlawfully after mistaking her for an intruder.

In 2014, he was found by Judge Thokozile Masipa to be not guilty of murder because of a lack of intent, but guilty of culpable homicide.

After serving a year in prison, Pistorius was released in October 2015 and placed on house arrest at his uncle’s home in Pretoria. However, the state pushed to change his culpable homicide conviction to murder in December, saying Judge Masipa failed to correctly apply the principles of dolus eventualis to the “accepted facts and the conduct of the accused”.

RELATED: Oscar Pistorius found guilty of murder; spotlight on trial judge for ignoring evidence and committing ‘errors in law’

The ‘blade runner’s’ lawyers then launched an appeal to the highest court in South Africa, arguing that the state and Supreme Court of Appeal had wrongly upgraded his conviction to murder.

However, a National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday that Pistorius’ leave to appeal had been denied, and the trial court will not decide on a suitable sentence.

This means Pistorius now faces a possible 15 years in prison, with reports saying his sentencing date could be set on April 18. 

RELATED: Oscar Pistorius: the story of his life in prison

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein hear an application by the National Prosecuting Authority to challenge Oscar Pistorius's culpable homicide conviction in November 2015: