Pistorius appeal ruling delayed until Wednesday

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is seen during his sentencing for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the high court in Pretoria, on Oct 21, 2014. A South African judge on Tuesday delayed ruling on whether to allow an appeal against Osc
Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is seen during his sentencing for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the high court in Pretoria, on Oct 21, 2014. A South African judge on Tuesday delayed ruling on whether to allow an appeal against Oscar Pistorius's five-year prison sentence, saying she wanted more time to consider arguments. -- PHOTO: AFP

PRETORIA (AFP, Reuters) - A South African judge on Tuesday delayed ruling on whether to allow an appeal against Oscar Pistorius's five-year prison sentence, saying she wanted more time to consider arguments.

After listening to arguments from the prosecution and defence, judge Thokozile Masipa adjourned the appeal hearing until Wednesday, saying: "I want to think about it."

Prosecutors appealed against the culpable homicide verdict and five-year prison term imposed on Pistorius for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, saying it was"shockingly inappropriate".

Pistorius, an Olympic and Paralympic track star, maintained throughout his seven-month trial that he shot Steenkamp on Feb. 14, 2013, by mistake, thinking she was an intruder hiding behind the bathroom door in his house in Pretoria.

The prosecution failed to convince Pretoria High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa of Pistorius' intent to kill when he fired at his girlfriend, leading to his conviction in October for negligent killing - culpable homicide - and a five-year jail term. "Based on all the evidence, perhaps the element of mercy was over-exaggerated," state prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued before Masipa Masipa's decision to rule out murder was criticised by several legal experts and the Women's League of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) as an erroneous interpretation of the law.

Pistorius, who was not in court on Tuesday, and his legal team are opposing the appeal.

In South African law, the judge who handed down a verdict decides on whether the judgement can be appealed.