Wednesday, 10 December 2014

State's Appeal Against Pistorius Murder Acquittal Allowed

In a welcome move, at least for those of us who had serious concerns about how Judge Masipa dealt with dolus eventualis in the Oscar Pistorius judgment (see my previous blog post on the matter here), Judge Masipa has permitted the State's appeal, which will now be heard in front of the South African Supreme Court.

To recap, in a nutshell, without making it clear in her judgment why and on what grounds, Masipa J. had to have accepted that Oscar Pistorius did not foresee that firing four bullets through a closed toilet door risked causing the death of the person behind the door. You don't have to be a lawyer to see the problem with that (though the lawyers out there may note that the State got a lucky break that the Honourable Judge didn't explain her reasoning fully in the original judgment, for if she had perversity could well have been the only avenue available for the appeal, and that is a very difficult bar to get over. As it is, Masipa J. accepted that it is a point of law as to whether she correctly applied the principle of dolus eventualis to the facts.)

The Guardian's liveblog of the original judgment had a useful explanation of what happened:

Read the State's grounds for appeal below.

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