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Judgment reserved in State's appeal of Pistorius conviction

The Supreme Court of Appeal is considering the State's application to convict Pistorius of murder.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel in the Supreme Court of Appeal on 3 November 2015. Picture: Pool.

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BLOEMFONTEIN - Judgment has been reserved in the appeal against Oscar Pistorius' culpable homicide conviction, which means he could find out his fate in days or even weeks.

A full bench, led by Judge President Lex Mpati, heard the case at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein today.

Pistorius, who is now under house arrest at his uncle's Waterkloof mansion, was s entenced to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp two years ago.

WATCH: Behind the door: Reeva flushed the toilet

The legal arguments, which were expected to take a whole day to complete, were concluded before lunchtime, but the sitting was not without tense debate between counsel and the judges.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel did appear to have it easier though, with the presiding officers concurring with several of his submissions.

This was confirmed when Judge Eric Leach grilled defence advocate Barry Roux on whether Judge Thokozile Masipa correctly applied the principle of dolus eventualis.

#OscarPistorius Leach reads Masipa's judgment - isn't that an incorrect application of the law?

Roux not giving straight answer. BB

  • EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) November 3, 2015 Leach put it to Roux that the issue at hand was not whether Pistorius knew that it was Steenkamp behind the door, as Masipa had questioned, but whether somebody was behind the door.

#OscarPistorius Leach: was there anything apart from the noise that showed his life was in danger? BB

#OscarPistorius Leach: did Pistorius honestly believe he was entitled to shoot the person behind the door? BB

But Roux said for the appeal to be successful, the high court's factual findings must be struck out.

Roux says if the lower court's findings stood, Pistorius could not be found guilty of murder.

Roux concluded his submissions by reiterating the anxious and vulnerable position his client found himself in when he opened fire.

There's also a debate about whether this court's findings would replace those of the lower court, or if the matter would be referred for retrial.

It's unclear when judgment will be delivered.

'COURT IGNORED EVIDENCE'

At the same time, the SCA said it was 'troubled' with the way Masipa dealt with some of the expert witness evidence against Pistorius.

Nel says Masipa did not apply legal principles applicable to circumstantial evidence.

Judge Steven Majiedt raised a further concern in this regard.

"What I find more troubling, is how she dealt with Chris Mangena's evidence. She finds that he is an excellent witness but then you don't understand how she gets to where she does with the fact that she basically accepts what the appellant or what accused said."

Roux dismissed this, saying that Masipa addressed all the evidence in great detail, and found it was not relevant.

To learn more about Reeva's story, click here.

To read similar cases, click here.