State intends to appeal Pistorius murder sentence

The NPA says the 6-year sentence for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp is 'shockingly too lenient'.

FILE: Oscar Pistorius arrives at High Court in Pretoria on 6 July 2016. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN."

PRETORIA - Eyewitness News has learnt that the State will apply for leave to appeal the six-year prison sentence imposed on convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius.

In a statement just released, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it had carefully considered the sentence handed to Pistorius and had decided to file an application for leave to appeal. The papers will be filed later today.

The state says the six-year prison sentence imposed on Pistorius is disproportionate to the crime of murder and describes it as "shockingly too lenient".

It believes the sentence is an injustice and has the potential to bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

The NPA hopes that an appeal will further clarify the principles around sentencing, particularly in crimes where there are prescribed minimum sentences.

On 6 July Judge Thokozile Masipa sentenced Pistorius to six years in prison for the 2013 murder of Reeva Steenkamp.

WATCH: Oscar Pistorius sentenced to six years in prison

Masipa said the mitigating factors in the case outweighed the aggravating factors and that factors existed to deviate from the prescribed sentence for murder.

The former athlete served one year in jail after the High Court in Pretoria found him guilty of culpable homicide, but the appeal court overturned that finding last year and convicted him of murder.

Pistorius maintains that he shot and killed Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013 in the mistaken belief that she was an intruder.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel had argued that Pistorius should go to prison for no less than 15 years, while defence advocate Barry Roux suggested a non-custodial sentence.

To view the NPA statement click here.