Pistorius case: Prosecutors lodge appeal against runner's trial verdict and sentence
Last Updated: 04/11/14 1:43pm
Prosecutors in South Africa have lodged an appeal against the verdict and sentence handed to Oscar Pistorius in his trial over the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The double amputee Olympic and Paralympic runner admitted shooting his girlfriend dead at their home in South Africa in the early hours of St Valentine's Day last year but claimed it was a mistake, after he thought there was an intruder in the house.
At the end of his trial last month, Judge Thokozile Masipa decided to acquit Pistorius of the charge of murder and instead found him guilty of a lesser charge of culpable homicide, the equivalent in British courts of manslaughter.
She sentenced him to five years in prison.
On Tuesday - exactly two weeks after he was sentenced - South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority said it had filed initial appeal papers.
Prosecutors must first apply to Judge Masipa for permission to appeal against the verdict and sentence she handed out to Pistorius.
They said the appeal against that verdict was "based on the question of law," meaning they think Masipa made a mistake when she acquitted Pistorius of murder.
Prosecutors have said they believe he should have been found guilty of murder for shooting four times through a toilet cubicle door in his home, hitting Steenkamp in the head, arm and hip.
He would face a minimum of 15 years in prison if convicted of murder on appeal.
The papers were filed on Tuesday at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, where Pistorius' seven-month murder trial was held, the NPA said in a statement.
The terms of Pistorius' current sentence mean he could be released from the hospital wing of a prison in Pretoria, where he is being held, after 10 months to complete his sentence under house arrest.
Judge Masipa will consider the appeal and rule in a court hearing if it should be referred to the Supreme Court of Appeal. The NPA did not provide any date for the appeal hearing.