Oscar Pistorius – Denied leave to appeal to Constitutional court

The former Paralympian hero has failed in his final attempt to take his case on appeal to the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court refused to grant Oscar Pistorius leave to appeal the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal to convert his conviction of culpable homicide to one of murder.

The Constitutional Court in considering whether to grant leave to appeal found that “the application should be dismissed for the lack of prospects of success”. In dismissing the application the Constitutional Court reverted the matter back to the Pretoria High Court for sentencing. The sentencing proceedings are expected to be heard on the 18 April 2016.

The sentencing will be heard by Judge Masipa, unless there is an application for her recusal. In any event Oscar now faces a considerable time behind bars. Murder carries with it a minimum sentence of 15 years in terms section 51 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1997. The only way for a court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence is where it can be shown by the defence that there is substantial and compelling circumstances’ to justify a lesser sentence. It should be noted that this does not take away a courts inherent discretion when sentencing, but it does provide a point of departure of which the court must consider. The discretion lies in the courts ability to deviate from the prescribed sentence in limited circumstances.

Oscar Pistorius will find out on the 18th of April 2016 how many years he will be sentenced for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. The world awaits with bated breath.

Written by Luke Kieran Marques Rennie from Hahn & Hahn attorneys

Should you require assistance in any legal matter contact Luke at Hahn & Hahn Attorneys  on +27 12 431 2480

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