Murder convict Oscar Pistorius to appear on bail plea

South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius is due in court to apply for bail after judges changed his manslaughter conviction to murder last week.

Pistorius now faces a minimum 15-year jail sentence for murdering his girlfriend in 2013.

The 29-year-old killed Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day after shooting four times through a locked toilet door.

He is currently under house arrest after spending one year of his original five-year sentence in jail.

Pistorius, a six-time Paralympic gold medallist whose legs were amputated below the knee as a baby, made history by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics, in 2012, running on prosthetic “blades”.

He is expected to appear at the Pretoria High Court at 09:30 local time (07:30 GMT).

The BBC understands that the prosecution and defence lawyers have privately agreed that he should be allowed to continue to remain at his uncle’s house in Pretoria until he is formally sentenced next year, our South Africa correspondent Karen Allen reports.

The date for sentencing is also expected to be announced on Tuesday.

There may be mitigating circumstance which could see the duration of the sentence reduced, our correspondent adds.

Last week, South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein accepted prosecution arguments and ruled that the lower court did not correctly apply the concept of dolus eventualis – whether Pistorius knew that a death would be a likely result of his actions.


What next for Pistorius?

When will he be sentenced?

We don’t have a date yet, but it will be next year. The minimum sentence for murder is 15 years, but the judge does have the discretion to lower it.

Can he appeal?

Yes, but only if his lawyers are convinced that the appeal judges violated his constitutional rights. So it’s a high threshold, and hard to meet.

So is this the end of Pistorius’ professional athletics career?

Almost certainly. He’s 29, and will be past his prime by the time he is freed. It is also unlikely that advertisers would want to sponsor him, as the Pistorius brand is now tainted.

Pistorius’ family gave a brief response, saying lawyers are studying the finding who will advise them on “options going forward”.

The panel of appeal judges described the case as “a human tragedy of Shakespearean proportions” in their written judgement.

Reading the unanimous ruling reached by the five judges, Justice Eric Leach said that having armed himself with a high-calibre weapon, Pistorius must have foreseen that whoever was behind the door might die, especially given his firearms training.

Pistorius always maintained that he believed there was an intruder in the house – but the judge said that the identity of the person behind the door was “irrelevant to his guilt”.

Justice Leach compared it to someone setting off a bomb in a public place not knowing who the victims might be.

The judge also rejected the argument that Pistorius had acted in self-defence.

He said that the athlete’s life was not in danger at the time of the shooting, as Pistorius did not know who was behind the door or if they posed a threat.

The judge added that Pistorius did “not take that most elementary precaution of firing a warning shot”.

Ms Steenkamp’s mother, June, was present and afterwards she was seen outside the court being embraced by members of the African National Congress Women’s League, who were singing songs of celebration.

Correspondents say that many in South Africa were upset by the original acquittal on murder charges, with women’s rights groups arguing he should have been found guilty of murder as a deterrent because of the high number of women who are killed by their partners in the country.

The double amputee was released from prison on 19 October as he was eligible for release under “correctional supervision”, having served a sixth of his sentence.

Pistorius can challenge the ruling in the constitutional court but only if his lawyers can argue that his constitutional rights have been violated.