Judge rejects prosecutor request to appeal Pistorius sentence

Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:09am EDT
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By Tanisha Heiberg

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African judge dismissed on Friday a request by state prosecutors to appeal Oscar Pistorius' six-year murder sentence, the latest twist in a trial that has captured global headlines.

The multiple gold medal-winning Paralympian, serving six years for murdering his girlfriend on Valentine's Day 2013, was not in court on Friday when the judge ruled that the state's petition had no reasonable prospects of success on appeal.

Women's rights groups in a country beset by high levels of violent crime against women say Pistorius has received preferential treatment compared to non-whites and those without his wealth or international celebrity status.

His backers say he did not intend to kill Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa sentenced the Paralympic gold medalist to six years behind bars in July for murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in 2013, but the prosecution had said the decision was "shockingly lenient".

Pistorius' defense had earlier argued the state was prejudiced and had dragged the case on too long, adding in their court documents that "enough is enough".

"I'm not persuaded that there are reasonable prospects of success on appeal or that another court may find differently," Masipa said in her ruling, dismissing the state's application.

Masipa originally sentenced Pistorius in 2014 after he was found guilty of manslaughter, but that conviction was increased to murder by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in December. The subsequent six-year sentence she passed in July was also criticized by women's groups for being too lenient.   Continued...

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel is seen during an appeal hearing brought by prosecutors against the six year jail term handed to Oscar Pistorius for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Themba Hadebe/Pool