Oscar Pistorius' Conviction Can Be Appealed, South African Judge Rules

PHOTO: Oscar Pistorius leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa on May 20, 2014.PlayThemba Hadebe/AP Photo
WATCH Prosecutors Ask for Appeal in Oscar Pistorius Case

South African prosecutors have been granted permission to appeal Oscar Pistorius' culpable homicide conviction, the equivalent of manslaughter.

Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled today that the state cannot appeal his five-year sentence separately and has to pay a portion of Pistorius' court costs during the appeal. If prosecutors succeed in appealing his conviction, the Supreme Court of Appeals may impose a commensurate sentence, which could be a minimum of 15 years.

Pistorius, 28, was charged with murder for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year but convicted of the lesser charge.

Masipa ruled that the Supreme Court of Appeals in Bloemfontein may find she misinterpreted the principles of dolus eventualis - murder without intent - and error in objecto - killing the wrong person. The court will also have to decide whether she made a mistake when she decided to accept a different version of events than the one Pistorius originally entered and if her decision to disregard all the circumstantial evidence presented by the state was correct.

During his trial, Pistorius testified that he thought there was an intruder behind the door, wanting to attack him. He had fired four shots through a locked bathroom door.

Masipa dismissed an appeal on Pistorius' acquittal of a charge of illegal possession of ammunition.