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Experts believe NPA will appeal Masipa judgment

The state has two weeks to decide if it will lodge an appeal against the culpable homicide ruling.

FILE: Judge Thokozile Masipa reads her judgment during sentencing of Oscar Pistorius at the High Court in Pretoria on 21 October 2014. Picture: Pool.

JOHANNESBURG - Legal experts believe it's highly likely that the state will appeal the verdict in the Oscar Pistorius trial.

The state has two weeks to decide if it will lodge an appeal.

Judge Thokozile Masipa this week sentenced the double amputee to five years in prison for culpable homicide for shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius shot and killed the model on Valentine's day last year after firing four shots through a closed bathroom door.

The Olympic gold medalist says that he believed an intruder was behind the door.

After a seven-month legal battle, the Blade Runner also received a three-year suspended sentence for the negligent use of a firearm.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it's still unhappy with the culpable homicide conviction and will be reviewing the judgment and sentencing over the next few days.

The NPA, however, was reluctant to say whether it would in fact push for a murder conviction despite the fact that prosecutor Gerrie Nel indicated last week that the crime was so serious it bordered on dolus eventualis.

Wits law professor James Grant says the issue is still being debated.

"Judge Masipa in reviewing and surveying the theory indicated that the law was clear and she understood it, but then she proceeded to give a rather strange judgment."

Attorney David Dadic says an appeal seems inevitable.

"This case will, as it stands now in precedents, probably be used against the NPA and have those charges reduced in the future to culpable homicide."