SCA to decide whether Oscar Pistorius is a murderer or not

Oscar Pistorius's conviction will now be argued in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

FILE: Oscar Pistorius in court. Picture: Pool

PRETORIA - The question of whether Oscar Pistorius is a murderer or not will now be argued in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) following the successful application by the State to have his culpable homicide conviction reviewed.

Judge Thokozile Masipa handed down her ruling in the High Court in Pretoria this morning.

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

The judge says the SCA must now answer these questions regarding her judgment.

Masipa says the court was faced with the difficult question of whether the state was raising issues of fact or issues of law.

"In respect of the application I am satisfied that the points raised by the applicant in respect of count 1 are indeed questions of law."

The judge says the Supreme Court of Appeal will consider several questions of law.

"Whether the principles of 'dolus eventualis' were correctly applied to the accepted facts and the conduct of the accused, including 'error in objecto'.

Watch: Aphrodite Jones on the Pistorius trial.

"Whether the court correctly applied the legal principles pertaining to circumstantial evidence and or pertaining to multiple defences by an accused."

The matter is expected to be heard within the next year.

OSCAR SENTENCE COULD BE AFFECTED

However, if the state is successful with its appeal on conviction and has it overturned to murder, it's likely to affect the athlete's sentence.

Sitting in the front row of the public gallery, holding his ubiquitous panama hat, Pistorius's father Henke was the only member of the athlete's family in court today.

After Masipa's judgment, he turned to tell reporters 'this shouldn't have gone this far.'

He spoke briefly to attorney Brian Webber before exiting the court room.

There's been no official comment from either the defence or the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) just yet.

Despite being ordered to pay the defence cost from the sentencing application, the NPA will view this judgment as a success.

The State now has an opportunity for the SCA 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 asking for around the application and around any precedents being set around this case.

Pistorius is serving a five-year sentence after being found guilty of culpable homicide in September for shooting Steenkamp four times through a bathroom door.

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

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