South Africa's top court throws out Oscar Pistorius' final appeal against murder conviction

Johannesburg: South Africa's Constitutional Court has rejected Oscar Pistorius's last-ditch attempt to appeal against his murder conviction for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, an official said Thursday.

"The court dismissed the application for leave to appeal because there are are no prospects of success," Luvuyo Mfaku, spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, told AFP.

Earlier in January, South African prosecutors had said that they would oppose Pistorius's attempt to have his murder conviction overturned in the Constitutional Court, describing his appeal as having "no reasonable prospect of success".

 South Africas top court throws out Oscar Pistorius final appeal against murder conviction

Oscar Pistorius. AP

The Paralympic champion has been on bail awaiting a new sentence since December 2015, when the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) found him guilty of murder for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.

The SCA overturned his earlier conviction on the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

In early January his lawyers applied for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court, the highest court in South Africa, arguing the SCA had "acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally".

But the National Prosecuting Authority on 25 January lodged papers with the court opposing the appeal.

"It is our respectful submission that the SCA committed no errors of law and that the arguments by the applicant are without merit and contrived," it said.

The double-amputee killed Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, in the early hours of Valentine's Day three years ago, saying he mistook her for an intruder when he shot four times through the door of his bedroom toilet.

Pistorius was released from jail in October to live under house arrest at his uncle's property in Pretoria after serving one year of his five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide – the equivalent of manslaughter.

The SCA judges in December 2015 described his testimony at his trial in 2014 as "untruthful" and delivered a damning indictment of the original verdict.

Pistorius, 29, could face at least 15 years in jail for his murder conviction.

His next sentencing hearing is on 18 April.


Updated Date: Mar 03, 2016 21:50:38 IST