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Oscar Pistorius denied right to appeal murder conviction


Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013 (AP)

Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013 (AP)

Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013 (AP)

Oscar Pistorius has been denied the right to appeal his murder conviction.

Lawyers for Pistorius, who killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home on Valentine's Day in 2013, had appealed to South Africa's highest court, saying another court erred when it overturned a manslaughter conviction and declared the Olympic athlete guilty of murder.

Pistorius is under house arrest while the Constitutional Court decided if it would hear the case.

A lawyer acting for Oscar Pistorius has said South Africa's highest court has dismissed his appeal against his murder conviction, adding he will be sentenced for murder.

The athlete will be sentenced on April 18.

A manslaughter verdict was overturned in December and a murder verdict introduced in its place.

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

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The minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years, though a judge can reduce that sentence in exceptional circumstances.

Pistorius's legal team maintained that the Supreme Court of Appeal, which convicted Pistorius of murder, ignored his vulnerability as a person with a disability.

It believes the court wrongly rejected a lower court's judgment that Pistorius acted out of fear when he opened fire at what he thought, by his account, was an intruder behind the closed door of a toilet cubicle.

However, prosecutors argue that they had appealed against the earlier manslaughter conviction because of an error in the way the law was applied, rather than any facts of the case, Mr Mfaku said.

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