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Oscar Pistorius Case Lands In South African Appeals Court

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Prosecutors Tuesday sought an appeal in the trial of Oscar Pistorius in the 2013 shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, saying that the 28-year-old should have been convicted of murder, not culpable homicide.

A group of five appellate judges oversaw the process, in which South African law will be dissected to see if it was properly applied to the Pistorius case. (In a shocking takeaway, the athlete's attorney Barry Roux was heard telling state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, "I'm going to lose," in an exchange that was caught on a court microphone, local outlet News24 reported, though it was unknown what the exact context was.)

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Prosecutors in the hearing said that the key is that Pistorius knew he might, and would likely, kill someone — anyone — in shooting four times through the bathroom door the 29-year-old model Steenkamp was behind when she was fatally stuck.

Roux countered in saying that Pistorius was overcome by severe anxiety in thinking that a robber had broken into the home, adding, "The law is not designed to punish you for a wrong state of mind."

Reeva Steenkamp

Justice Lorimer Leach told the defense lawyer, "If you look at the photographs, there's room behind there for a toilet bowl and a person and just about nothing else. There's nowhere to hide. It would be a miracle if you didn't shoot someone."

Bulldog prosecutor Nel said that "on the objective facts, the accused cannot escape the conviction of murder."

The Olympian, who has been on home arrest since Oct. 19, was not present for proceedings at Bloemfontein, South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal.

Steenkamp's outspoke mother June was present and flanked by a group of women's activists.

No deadline was set for a decision in the appeal; if the double-amputee runner is convicted in the appeal, he'll spend at least 15 years in custody.



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