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Anxious wait for Pistorius ahead of appeal ruling

The state today launched its application to have the athlete’s conviction & sentence appealed.

FILE: Oscar Pistorius is seen at the High Court in Pretoria on 21 October 2014. Picture: Pool.

JOHANNESBURG - Convicted killer Oscar Pistorius, his family and his legal team will have to wait until tomorrow to find out whether the prosecution will be able to appeal his conviction and his sentence.

The state today launched its application to have the athlete's culpable homicide conviction and sentence appealed in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

While the Olympic Athlete serves out his jail term at the Kgosi Mampuru II Prison in Pretoria, just a few kilometres away at the High Court in Pretoria, his prosecutors argued for leave to appeal in front of Judge Thokozile Masipa.

In September, Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison for shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The state failed to convince Masipa that he intended to kill when he fired shots through a locked toilet door at his luxury Pretoria home and he was found guilty of culpable homicide.

There was a considerably a lower key atmosphere in court today as Pistorius was not there, nor was his extended family or the throngs of international journalists who were present throughout the trial.

Masipa appeared alone, without her two assessors, and wore a plain black robe rather than her usual red.

Much of the day belonged to prosecutor Gerrie Nel as he argued technical legal argument, basing his application on a dense, academic understanding of the law.

Former University of the Witwatersrand law professor James Grant was a new face in court sitting alongside Nel, his influence on the state's argument clearly evident.

Defence advocate Barry Roux's response was brief but impassioned as he assured the judge she did not err in her ruling.

Masipa return to hand down her ruling at 9:30 tomorrow morning.

PISTORIUS VERDICT BASED ON 'FINDINGS OF FACT'

The double amputee's defence team argued that Masipa's application of the law in the conviction of the athlete was correct and that the state's application to appeal her ruling should be dismissed.

Roux said the court's findings on the double amputee's state of mind were findings of fact which the state may not appeal.

"He didn't foresee that he would kill and that is a factual finding, whether that's right or wrong. I say it's right, but it doesn't matter."

But Nel said the court asked the incorrect question of whether Pistorius subjectively foresaw killing Steenkamp as opposed to whether he foresaw killing any person.

He argued this then is a matter of law, which permits the state to ask the Supreme Court of Appeal to review the conviction.

Earlier, the prosecutor claimed that the judge had incorrectly applied the legal principle of _ dolus eventualis._

Nel said that in this regard the court erred, and that if it had applied the dolus eventualis principle correctly, Pistorius would be guilty of murder.

Video: Fact vs law in Pistorius appeal.

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