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Pistorius ruling: Judge Masipa not swayed by public opinion

Judge Masipa says her decision was based solely on the argument and evidence presented to her.

Judge Thokozile Masipa in the High Court in Pretoria on 9 December, 2014. Picture: Pool.

PRETORIA - Judge Thokozile Masipa says she is asserting the independence of the judiciary by stating that public opinion cannot determine matters before court.

The judge today granted the state's application for leave to appeal Oscar Pistorius's culpable homicide conviction.

The state successfully applied to have the athlete's culpable homicide conviction reviewed, however, the High Court in Pretoria has denied permission to appeal his sentence.

The athlete was sentenced to five years in prison for the Valentine's Day shooting and killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The state argued that Masipa should consider the significant public interest in the Pistorius trial when reaching a decision but she quickly dismissed this.

"The degree of public interest in a matter isn't relevant and it can't determine the outcome of any matter that is before court."

Video: Pistorius appeal granted.

The judge said her decision was based solely on the argument and evidence presented to her.

"In terms of our Constitution, everyone is equal before the law, so this application will be treated only on its own merits."

The state has been given permission to appeal the athlete's conviction but not sentence.

The Supreme Court of Appeal will now consider whether she was correct when she disregarded circumstantial evidence presented in the murder trial, evidence the state argues proves his version of events is impossible.

Masipa's decision again places the double amputee in jeopardy of a murder conviction and a possible 15-year jail sentence.

HENKE PISTORIUS SPEAKS OUT ON VERDICT

The blade runner's father, Henke, says while his family accepts Masipa's ruling to have his son's culpable homicide conviction reviewed, the trial should have been dealt with more swiftly.

Henke was the only member of the athlete's family present in court today.

He sid his relatives respect South Africa's judiciary.

"Whether they were right or wrong isn't the case and we're proud of the system but it shouldn't have taken this long."

Video: 'Oscar is keeping strong'.

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