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Oscar Pistorius cries at his first trial. Image courtesy of theguardian.com

Oscar Pistorius cannot afford a new trial

The state has called for Pistorius to be tried again, as they believe that the court got it wrong when they cleared him of murder.

The former Paralympic athlete has said that he cannot afford a new trial in the case of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp’s death.

Pistorius’s lawyer Barry Roux has argued against it. In papers filed with the South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal, Roux argues that the process would be far too long and complex.

He explained that the intense scrutiny that the first trail received would “contaminate and confuse” both the objectivity and reliability of another hearing. Further explaining that Pistorius could not afford the expense of another trial as his “financial ability” to pay for a second hearing is “non-existent”.

Mr Roux also argued that Pistorius could fall foul of double jeopardy, as he would be charged with murder again based on the exact same evidence despite the fact that he has already been acquitted.

The papers have been filed following the State arguing that Pistorius should have been found guilty of murder as oppose to the lesser charge of culpable homicide. The main point of contention was that the Pretoria High Court Judge, Thokozile Masipa, applied the principle of dolus eventualis when reaching her verdict, which the court believes was an incorrect decision.

Judge Masipa granted the State leave to appeal in December 2014, acknowledging that her verdict was based upon her own interpretation of the law.

Pistorius’s lawyer Roux further argued that the States appeal for a second hearing was an attack on Masipa’s verdict that Pistorius did not intentionally kill Ms Steenkamp. Roux is adamant that the state are not allowed to penalise his client because they disagree with the Judge’s method.

It is expected that the Court of Appeal will consider the matter in November.

Model and reality TV star, Reeva Steenkamp, died in Pistorius’s Pretoria home after he fired four shots through the door of the bathroom she was in, on St Valentines Day, 2013.

In the trial Pistorius said he’d believed there was an intruder in his home, and that he had assumed that his girlfriend was in the bedroom when he fired the shots.

The judge accepted Pistorius’s account of the events and chose to clear him of murder, instead finding him guilty of culpable homicide, and handing him a five-year jail sentence.

He was also given an additional three-year sentence for firing a gun in a restaurant which has been suspended for five years.

On Friday the parole review board were expected to meet and discuss whether Pistorius would be eligible to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest.

Pistorius was due to be released on August 21, but Justice Minister Michael Masutha has said that the board acted rather prematurely when setting the date.

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