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State will struggle with Pistorius appeal – defence lawyer

06 July 2016, 17:58 Paul Herman, News24

Cape Town - A legal expert has told News24 that the State will have a tough time getting the Supreme Court of Appeal to reconsider Judge Thokozile Masipa's six-year sentence handed down to convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius.

Attorney Marius du Toit, who has his own practice and has also served as both a magistrate and a prosecutor, said he had expected the sentence to be a little bit heavier, but that the final sentence was not an incorrect one.

"I expected 10 years," Du Toit told News24 on Wednesday.

"My immediate feeling was that it was a lenient sentence, but not a wrong sentence.

"It’s going to be tough for the State to succeed on appeal against the sentence, purely because I think Judge Masipa really gave a good judgment. I thought she dealt with everything.

"Of course, the judgment was very favourable to Oscar, but I think it’s going to be tough to first get past her to apply for leave to appeal, but also for the SCA to find a prospect of success on appeal.

"I think we’ve reached the end of the matter."

'Judge has great sympathy for the man'

Du Toit said that during the course of the sentencing, he could see that Masipa was heading toward a "defence-favourable" judgment.

"What I mean is that it was a judgment where you could clearly see it was heading toward a less stringent sentence. Everything she was saying, she was refusing certain things.

"She made the point that the public perception was wrong; she made the point that there was remorse.

"So when she handed down six years, I thought it was a lenient sentence, but I don’t think it was a wrong sentence.

"She really has great sympathy for the man."

- Read more: Oscar Pistorius timeline

Du Toit also said that Pistorius faces a minimum of 50% of his sentence in prison, given the judgment, which equates to a minimum of three years.

"After 50%, he becomes eligible for parole. Not that he will get it, but it means he can be considered.”

- News24


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