Man oh man. If you’re Oscar Pistorius today then you are going to be absolutely gutted.
You probably remember that around two years ago Pistorius was found guilty of the manslaughter of his wife Reeva Steenkamp and was sentenced to five years in jail – he served one year of it and has been under house arrest ever since. It turns out now though that a South African Appeals Court has overturned that verdict and he could now face at least 15 years behind bars.
Pistorius will soon have to return to court to be re-sentenced. It’s unclear as to when this will take place but it will probably be fairly soon. What’s more, the verdict came only two days after his house arrest sentence was due to expire. That’s got to make it an even bigger bummer.
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The verdict has been changed because Justice Lorimer Leach of the Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled that the original court forgot to apply the rule of dolus eventualis, This basically asks the question of whether or not Pistorius was aware that his actions could cause death.
As he armed himself with a gun and shot at his girlfriend through a bathroom door – even though he thought she was a robber apparently – Leach has argued that he knew exactly what he was doing.
The original case hinged on the fact that Pistorius thought that his victim was an intruder and not his girlfriend, but now that dolus eventualis has been applied the identity of the victim doesn’t matter – it’s more about the fact that Pistorius knew he was effectively murdering someone.
Pistorius can challenge the decision if his lawyers can prove that his constitutional rights have been violated, but apparently there’s very little precedent for this so it’s unlikely that this would work. Looks like Oscar’s going to the slammer – considering he took acting lessons before the trial began and has acted dodgily and like he was guilty ever since Reena was killed, this is probably the sentence most people want to see.
Still, that doesn’t change the fact that this is an extra harsh way to find out about it.