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Pistorius prosecutors debate appeal


Oscar Pistorius was sentenced at a court in Pretoria, South Africa (AP)

Oscar Pistorius was sentenced at a court in Pretoria, South Africa (AP)

Oscar Pistorius was sentenced at a court in Pretoria, South Africa (AP)

Prosecutors in the Oscar Pistorius case have consulted with a criminal law expert over a possible appeal.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel has consulted with Professor James Grant over an appeal, prosecution spokesman Nathi Mncube confirmed.

Prof Grant tweeted that he has advised Mr Nel to appeal and agreed to assist prosecutors.

Criminal experts have said there may be grounds for prosecutors to appeal against Judge Thokozile Masipa's decision to acquit Pistorius of murder over the fatal shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Masipa instead found the double-amputee athlete guilty of the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

Pistorius was given a five-year prison sentence. He would face a minimum of 15 years in jail if found guilty of murder on appeal.

"We are busy. We are considering appealing," the prosecution spokesman added.

Pistorius is eligible for release after 10 months and would then complete his sentence under house arrest.

Prosecutors insist he should have been found guilty of murder and when Judge Masipa acquitted him on that charge, her decision was widely questioned by legal analysts.

Mr Grant, a television analyst during Pistorius' trial, was one of those.

Experts say there are grounds for an appeal, partly because the judge may have misapplied a part of South African law called "dolus eventualis" - which says someone should be found guilty of murder if they foresaw the possibility of killing someone and went ahead anyway.

The experts questioned how the judge ruled that Pistorius did not predict that someone might die when he decided to shoot four times from close range into a small toilet cubicle in his home, hitting Ms Steenkamp in the hip, arm and head.

Prosecutors have 14 days from the announcement of Pistorius' sentence on Tuesday to apply initially to Judge Masipa for permission to appeal. They could appeal against the verdict or Pistorius' sentence.