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Pistorius could still face murder conviction

The SCA will consider whether Masipa was correct when she disregarded circumstantial evidence in the trial.

FILE: Oscar Pistorius during his court case at the High Court in Pretoria 8 August 2014. Picture: Pool.

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

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.

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.

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

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel says the court erroneously disregarded all the circumstantial evidence that proved the athlete's version of events was impossible and which proved he intentionally killed Reeva Steenkamp.

This evidence related to the location of the fan in his bedroom, the duvet and a pair of jeans.

The judge has allowed the court to question her decision.

The blade runner's uncle Arnold Pistorius says the family has noted the court's finding.

In a terse one line statement, Arnold said that the judgment is noted and the family will abide by it.

The Blade Runner's father Henke was the only member of his family in court today. He turned to reporters and said this shouldn't have gone so far.

Depending on the timeline of appeal, Pistorius could be released on correctional supervision while the appeal is still ongoing and he may then have to return to jail.

Video: Pistorius leave to appeal granted.

'COURT ERROR'

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the court erroneously disregarded all the circumstantial evidence that proved Pistorius's version of events was impossible and which proved he intentionally killed Steenkamp.

This evidence related to the location of the fan in his bedroom, the duvet and a pair of jeans.

Masipa has allowed the Supreme Court of Appeal to question her decision.

"In respect of the application, I am satisfied that the points raised by the applicant in respect of count one are indeed questions of law."

She said the Supreme Court of Appeal will judge several questions of law.

Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority has welcomed the judgment.

Spokesperson Nathi Mncube says, "The issues that we wanted clarified and that we feel need to be clarified by the court is the issues of law and of course the judge this morning did actually agree."

The state now has an opportunity for the court in Bloemfontein to look at Masipa's judgment and to interrogate crucial legal questions, specifically whether the principle of _dolus eventualis _was correctly applied.

This will hopefully provide the clarity that legal commentators have been seeking around the application and around any precedents being set around this case.

Get all the latest developments on the EWN Oscar Pistorius portal.

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