South Africa’s highest court is considering whether to change Oscar Pistorius’ conviction of manslaughter for killing his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day almost three years ago. Arguments for convicting the amputee Olympian runner were broadcast live yesterday (Nov. 2).
At least one person may have an idea how the case might go. Pistorius’ lead defense lawyer Barry Roux was heard on his microphone saying, “I’m going to lose” after the Supreme Court adjourned. It was not clear what he was referring to.
Prosecutors argue that a lower court misapplied the law when it convicted Pistorius of culpable homicide, a charge that is the equivalent of manslaughter, when he fired four shots into a locked bathroom and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. Prosecutors argued that even if Pistorius did not know Steenkamp was in the bathroom, he knew that he would kill the person by shooting. Thus, he should be convicted of murder, which carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. Pistorius was released last month after about a year in jail, a fifth of his total sentence, and placed under house arrest.
A panel of five judges is considering their ruling, which they aim to release before the end of the month. The judges can convict Pistorius of murder, uphold the previous manslaughter conviction, or order a new trial. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked the court to order its own conviction, saying that neither the defense or the state “has the stomach” for a retrial.