The defence for Oscar Pistorius on 13 March failed in a bid to stop prosecutors from appealing the culpable homicide conviction handed down to the athlete for killing his girlfriend.

Pistorius was sentenced to five years in jail by High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

South African prosecutors will now be able to appeal the culpable homicide conviction and seek a murder conviction.

"In my view, to entertain this application will be tantamount to reviewing my own decision. And, I also think, procedurally, it will be wrong to grant or refuse this application. Accordingly, the order that I grant in this matter, is to strike off the application," Judge Thokozile Masipa told the court.

If convicted of murder, Pistorius could receive a prison sentence of at least 15 years.

The track star, aged 28, is serving prison time after being convicted in October after a seven-month trial.