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Appeal verdict on Pistorius case due Thursday: official

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal will announce Thursday its verdict on an attempt by state prosecutors to have Oscar Pistorius convicted of murder for shooting dead his girlfriend, the court registrar said.

The Paralympic sprinter was found guilty last year of the lesser crime of culpable homicide — the equivalent to manslaughter — for killing Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day, 2013.

Pistorius, who said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he opened fire, was released from jail on parole in October after serving one year of his five-year sentence.

“The judgement will be delivered at 09:45 on 3 December,” the registrar said in a brief emailed statement.

At the crux of the appeal case was how trial judge Thokozile Masipa interpreted the principle of “dolus eventualis” — awareness of the likely outcome of an action — under which she acquitted Pistorius of murder.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued that Pistorius should be convicted of murder as he intended to kill whoever was behind the toilet door through which he fired four bullets.

“Firing through the door at torso level into a small cubicle… the foresight must be that someone would die,” Nel told the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein at the hearing in November.

Pistorius’ lawyer Barry Roux argued that the original trial verdict could not be challenged on its factual findings.

The appeal judges could alter the original trial verdict and send the case back to the high court for a new sentence.

If Pistorius was found guilty of murder, he would face a minimum of 15 years in prison.