Police issue arrest warrant for Oscar Pistorius

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority has issued a warrant of arrest for Oscar Pistorius, a day after the Paralympic champion was convicted on appeal of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, ENCA television reported on Friday.

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’ conviction for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was scaled up to murder from culpable homicide by South Africa’s top appeals court on Thursday December 3, 2015.

State prosecutors who lodged the appeal say Pistorius intended to kill Steenkamp and that she fled to a toilet during a row. Pistorius denies deliberately killing Steenkamp, saying he mistook her for an intruder at his home.

At the original trial in September last year, Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled that the state had failed to prove intent or “dolus eventualis”, a legal concept that centres on a person being held responsible for the foreseeable consequences of their actions.

Dolus eventualis refers to whether a person foresees the possibility that his or her action will cause death but carries on regardless.

Justice Eric Leach called the incident a “human tragedy of Shakespearean proportion” as he started reading the ruling.

“The principles of “dolus eventualis” including “error in objecto” were incorrectly applied to the facts found to be proved relevant to the conduct of the accused. And two, the trial court did not correctly conceive and apply the legal principles pertaining to circumstantial evidence,” said Leach.

“Blade Runner” Pistorius could now be sent back to jail for at least 15 years for shooting Steenkamp dead on Valentine’s Day 2013.

The athlete is expected to be sentenced for the new murder conviction by a lower court at a date still to be determined.

“I conclude with the following order to be made: one, the first two questions of law reserved are answered in favour of the director of public prosecutions. Two, the accused’s conviction and sentence on count one are set aside and replaced with the following: guilty of murder with the accused having had criminal intent in the form of dolus eventualis. Three, the methods referred back to the trial court to consider an appropriate sentence afresh in light of the comments in this judgment,” said Leach.

Last year a judge gave Pistorius a five-year jail sentence for “culpable homicide” of Steenkamp, but prosecutors argued that he should be convicted of murder for firing four shots through a locked toilet door in a case that attracted interest around the world and continues to fascinate and divide South Africa.

Pistorius left jail on parole in October and was due to spend the rest of his sentence under house arrest.