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Defence argues Pistorius’s constitutional right to fair trial undermined

The convicted murderer has approached the Constitutional Court to challenge the 13-year prison term.

FILE: Oscar Pistorius and his lawyer Barry Roux at the High Court in Pretoria on 5 March 2014. Picture: Pool.

PRETORIA - Oscar Pistorius’s legal team has argued that the Supreme Court of Appeal disregarded findings of fact by the trial court which undermined his constitutional right to a fair trial.

The convicted murderer has approached the Constitutional Court to challenge the 13-year prison term handed down in Bloemfontein last month.

Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day four years ago.

His legal team states in an affidavit that the matter relates to the proper approach of the Appeal Court on the question of whether substantial and compelling circumstances exist to justify a prison term which is shorter than the prescribed minimum sentence.

The High Court found such reasons did exist to deviate from the minimum 15-year sentence for murder, but this was rejected by the Appeal Court.

Pistorius’s legal team argues that it is impermissible for the Appeal Court to ignore the considerations of the High Court and this amounts to a breach of his constitutional right to a fair trial.

It’s understood the State will oppose the appeal.