Oscar Pistorius cannot afford a new trial, and it would be too long and complex, his lawyer Barry Roux argues in papers filed with the Supreme Court of Appeal on Wednesday.
The former Paralympic athlete’s initial trial was subject to intense public scrutiny, which would “contaminate and confuse” the reliability and objectivity of witnesses and proceedings in a new trial.
Pistorius’s “financial ability” for a new trial was “non-existent”, Roux said.
He further faced the risk of double jeopardy in that he would be charged with murder again, on the same facts, a charge of which he was acquitted.
The papers were a response to the State’s argument that Pistorius should be found guilty of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The SCA is expected to hear the matter in November.
Roux said if the SCA agreed with the State’s argument, its only approach would be to consider referring the matter for a new trial. The State was arguing, amongst others, that Pretoria High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa incorrectly applied the principle of dolus eventualis when she found Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide.
In December 2014, Masipa granted the State leave to appeal, saying her culpable homicide verdict was based on her interpretation of the law. Appeals could be granted based on questions of law, not on the interpretation of the facts of the matter.
Roux argued the State was trying to attack Masipa’s finding that Pistorius did not intend to kill Steenkamp, and that it was not allowed to do this.
In its papers the State argued Pistorius foresaw his actions could result in someone’s death, he reconciled himself to this and fired four shots through his locked toilet door. He had “the intention to kill in the form of dolus eventualis. He gambled with the life of another”.
Roux said dolus eventualis would have arisen if Pistorius had foreseen that Steenkamp could be in the toilet when he first four shots through the door. Masipa however found Pistorius believed she was in his bedroom at the time.
Pistorius fired four shots through the locked door of the toilet in his Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day 2013, apparently thinking an intruder was about to emerge and attack him.
On October 21, 2014, Masipa jailed Pistorius for five years for killing Steenkamp, and for three years, suspended for five, for firing a gun at Tasha’s restaurant.
The parole review board was expected to meet on Friday to decide if Pistorius could serve out the rest of his sentence under house arrest. He was meant to have been released on August 21, but Justice Minister Michael Masutha said the board acted prematurely when it set that date. News24