On Thursday (21/07), the NPA announced that it intends to appeal Oscar Pistorius’ 6 year sentence (passed down to him earlier this month on the 6th) for homicide.
The NPA (The National Prosecuting Authority) called Pistorius’ sentence, “shockingly inappropriate” and ” disproportionate to the crime”.
Pistorius was originally given 5 years for culpable homicide after killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home on Valentine’s Day, 2013. He served a year of that sentence before being re-sentenced, by Judge Thokozile Masipa who stated that she found the mitigating factors outweighed the aggravating factors.
The NPA has explained their decision in papers filed on Thursday, saying that the court “misdirected itself in finding that the aggravating factors in case are outweighed by the mitigating factors”.
Most importantly,Pistorius had “no justification” for his actions, and has failed to provide one still. Plainly, “he intended (dolus eventualis) to kill a human being”. See their reasons below:
“1.It was in the bedroom that the accused had formed the intention to shoot and when he realised that there was someone behind the toilet door he fired four shots.
“2. The Supreme Court of Appeal as well as this Court rejected the defence that the accused acted in private defence or even putative private defence. Thus, there existed no justification for the accused’s actions.
“3. And perhaps the most important factor that the court failed to take into account is that the accused ‘fired four shots through the door. And he never offered an acceptable explanation for having done so’.”
“[The] Court misdirected itself in not focusing on the fact that the accused’s actions in firing four shots at a human being behind a closed toilet door was no mistake”.
The NPA believe Judge Masipa ‘over-emphasized’ Pistorius’ disability and circumstances (where he felt ‘vulnerable’ while committing the crime). The State argues that the Court was misdirected by ‘maudlin sympathy’.
The State said the sentence was an “injustice” and could potentially “bring the administration of justice into disrepute”. The ANC Women’s League have welcomed the decision.
Steenkamp’s family have also announced their support of the State’s decision. The family’s attorney Tania Koen has said that while their support may not influence the decision, “They’ve always believed that they’re fighting for Reeva.”