South African judge approves Pistorius appeal

16 PHOTOS
Oscar Pistorius - Reeva Steenkamp
See Gallery
South African judge approves Pistorius appeal
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Judge Thokozile Masipa speaks during Oscar Pistorius' trial at the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa has ruled out murder charges, but has left it to today to announce whether Oscar Pistorius is guilty of culpable homicide, as the six month trial of the Olympic double-amputee sprinter comes to an end. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times-Pool/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius speaks with his uncle Arnold Pistorius during his trial at the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa has ruled out murder charges, but has left it to today to announce whether Oscar Pistorius is guilty of culpable homicide, as the six month trial of the Olympic double-amputee sprinter comes to an end. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times-Pool/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius takes his seat during his trial at the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa has ruled out murder charges, but has left it to today to announce whether Oscar Pistorius is guilty of culpable homicide, as the six month trial of the Olympic double-amputee sprinter comes to an end. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times-Pool/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is his' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. Judge Masipa continues to deliver her verdict. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is his' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. Judge Masipa continues to deliver her verdict. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Henke Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is his' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. Judge Masipa continues to deliver her verdict. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Advocate Barry Roux at the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is his' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. Judge Masipa continues to deliver her verdict. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is his' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. Judge Masipa continues to deliver her verdict. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Reeva Steenkamp's family at the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is his' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. Judge Masipa continues to deliver her verdict. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius is watched as he takes his seat during his trial at the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa has ruled out murder charges, but has left it to today to announce whether Oscar Pistorius is guilty of culpable homicide, as the six month trial of the Olympic double-amputee sprinter comes to an end. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius takes his seat during his trial at the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa has ruled out murder charges, but has left it to today to announce whether Oscar Pistorius is guilty of culpable homicide, as the six month trial of the Olympic double-amputee sprinter comes to an end. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is his' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. Judge Masipa continues to deliver her verdict. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Judge Thokozile Masipa at the Pretoria High Court at the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is his' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. Judge Masipa continues to deliver her verdict. (Photo by Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 2: South African Paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Jenna Edkins (L) on December 2, 2008 in South Africa. (Photo by Naranda Nell/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 22: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius poses with his girlfriend Jenna Edkins on August 22, 2008 in South Africa. (Photo by Nardus Engelbrecht Beeld/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 22: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius poses with his girlfriend Jenna Edkins on August 22, 2008 in South Africa. (Photo by Nardus Engelbrecht Beeld/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - South African prosecutors can appeal double-amputee Olympian Oscar Pistorius' acquittal on murder charges for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Judge Thokozile Masipa announced the ruling in a Pretoria court, saying she was satisfied that chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel had raised "questions of law" that should be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

"This might have a practical effect on the conviction," Masipa said.

Nathi Mncube, the prosecution spokesman, said he hopes the appeal will be "expedited," but acknowledged that the process can take a long time.

In arguing for an appeal, the prosecution said the judge - who in October found the Paralympic champion guilty of culpable homicide and gave him a five-year prison term - incorrectly interpreted a legal principle. Under that principle, a person should be found guilty of murder if he foresaw the possibility of a person dying because of his actions, and went ahead with those actions anyway.

"We're happy," Mncube told journalists after Masipa approved the appeal.

Pistorius could be released from prison into house arrest after 10 months but he now faces the prospect of a possible murder conviction. Once prosecutors appeal the conviction, the appeals court would review the case to determine if the verdict was appropriate.

Pistorius fatally shot Steenkamp, a model and budding reality TV star, in his home on Valentine's Day last year. He said he thought a dangerous intruder was in the house; prosecutors allege he killed his girlfriend after an argument.

More AOL headlines:
Autopsy: Waitress caught head in dumbwaiter
Massive $1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled
Northern California braces for powerful storm
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.