Six-time Paralympic gold medallist was last week handed a five-year sentence

South African prosecutors have announced that they are to appeal against the conviction and sentencing of six-time Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius.

Last week Pistorius was handed a five-year sentence for the culpable homicide (manslaughter) of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp who he shot on February 14, 2013.

In a statement, published by Eyewitness News, the NPA are reported to have said that the appeal on conviction is based on the question of law.

“Today we announce that the decision to appeal both the conviction and sentence has been taken,” read the NPA statement, published by Eyewitness News, in part.

“The appeal on conviction is based on the question of law. The merits and the demerits of the NPA’s argument in this regard will become evident when we file papers for leave to appeal. The prosecutors are now preparing the necessary papers in order to be able to file within the next few days.”

Steenkamp died on Valentine’s Day last year after Pistorius fatally shot her through a toilet door. The athlete says he shot at the door thinking there was an intruder in his house and last month he was cleared of murder charges after Judge Thokozile Masipa stated that the prosecution had failed to prove premeditated murder.

The 27-year-old was found guilty of the lesser charge of culpable homicide, which can carry a sentence of up to 15 years.

Pistorius was also given a three-year suspended sentence for a separate firearms offence.

Following his sentencing, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced that the athlete would be barred from competing at IPC events for five years, even if he is released from prison early, though it was also said that this would be reviewed should his sentence be appealed.

Known as the “Blade Runner” because of the carbon fibre prosthetic blades he would use when running, Pistorius made history at London 2012 when he became the first double amputee to run in both the Olympics and Paralympics.

The London 2012 Olympic 400m semi-finalist also won gold in the T44 400m at the London Paralympics, setting a Paralympic record in the process, as well as silver in the T44 200m and gold in the 4x100m relay.