By Christopher Torchia
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
JOHANNESBURG _ Oscar Pistorius must appear in court on Tuesday to apply for bail now that an appeals court has overturned his manslaughter conviction and instead found him guilty of murder for shooting his girlfriend to death, a South African official said.
The double-amputee Olympian might also be given a sentencing date during Tuesday’s hearing in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, said Lusanda Ntuli, a judicial spokeswoman.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned a lower court’s culpable homicide conviction and found the runner guilty of murder for shooting Reeva Steenkamp to death on Valentine’s Day 2013. Pistorius spent one year of a five-year sentence in jail for the lesser offence and then was put under house arrest at his uncle’s mansion in Pretoria in October.
Pistorius shot Steenkamp through the door of a toilet cubicle in his home early on Valentine’s Day 2013. Prosecutors said he killed her after an argument; Pistorius said he killed her by mistake, thinking there was an intruder in the house.
The appeals court said that regardless of who was behind the door, Pistorius should have known someone could be killed if he fired multiple times. Under South African law, a person can be convicted of murder if he or she foresaw the possibility of someone dying through their actions and went ahead anyway.
The minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years, but exceptional circumstances in the case of the former track star, including time served, his disability and his status as a first-time offender, could mean a lower sentence.