Oscar Pistorius has had an appeal to have his 13-year jail term reduced rejected. Picture: Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images
Oscar Pistorius has had an appeal to have his 13-year jail term reduced rejected. Picture: Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images

Pistorius loses bid to cut sentence

SOUTH Africa's highest court has rejected Oscar Pistorius's request to appeal against his 13-year jail term, ending the long legal battle over his killing of his girlfriend in 2013.

The former Paralympic athlete, 31, had asked the Constitutional Court to review the jail term, which was increased to 13 years in November.

But the court ruling released on Monday said that "the application for leave to appeal is dismissed" as it was not a constitutional matter.

The ruling was dated March 28.

Pistorius shot dead Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day in 2013 when he fired four times through the locked door of his bedroom toilet, later saying that he thought she was an intruder.

Oscar Pistorius with his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2012. He was convicted of her 2013 murder. Picture: AFP/Lucky Nxumalo
Oscar Pistorius with his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2012. He was convicted of her 2013 murder. Picture: AFP/Lucky Nxumalo

He was originally convicted of culpable homicide - the equivalent of manslaughter - in 2014, but his conviction was upgraded to murder on appeal.

Pistorius also tried to take the murder conviction to the Constitutional Court, but it also refused to hear the matter.

His legal team and state prosecutors have fought through the courts over the length of his sentence.

"This is the end of the road. There are no other legal options available," National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku told AFP, welcoming the ruling.

Tania Koen, the Steenkamp's family lawyer, said that Reeva's parents had "always had faith in the justice system" and had no further comment to make.

"June and Barry have been focusing their time and energy in the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation which was established in her memory," Ms Koen said.

The year before he killed Steenkamp, Pistorius became the first double-amputee to race at the Olympics when he competed at the London 2012 games.

Oscar Pistorius during his trial over Reeva Steenkamp’s death. Picture: AFP/Marco Longari
Oscar Pistorius during his trial over Reeva Steenkamp’s death. Picture: AFP/Marco Longari

Previously a role model for disabled people worldwide, his trial generated international headlines.

In a television interview, he said he believed an intruder was in the house and "instant fear" drove him to grab his gun and walk on his stumps towards the bathroom before opening fire.

It is unclear when Pistorius, who is detained in prison outside the capital Pretoria, could be eligible for parole.

"That's the end of the road for Mr Pistorius in terms of pushing the matter forward," local radio station EWN quoted national prosecution authority spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku as saying on Monday.

Oscar Pistorius during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Picture: Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Oscar Pistorius during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Picture: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Pistorius filed the application to appeal in December, saying that his sentence was unfair and the last court ruling had ignored important facts. The athlete's case has been back and forth in South Africa's courts for years.

An initial six-year sentence was more than doubled in late 2017 after the prosecution appealed, saying the original sentence was too lenient.

The South African sprinter, known as the "Blade Runner" for his prosthetics, maintains he believed Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her through the bathroom door.

Reeva Steenkamp’s parents June and Barry Steenkamp have created a foundation against domestic violence in their daughter’s name. Picture: AFP/Ihsaan Haffejee
Reeva Steenkamp’s parents June and Barry Steenkamp have created a foundation against domestic violence in their daughter’s name. Picture: AFP/Ihsaan Haffejee

Pistorius, whose lower legs were amputated because of a congenital defect, soared to international fame after becoming the first double amputee to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games.



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