Pistorius Facing 15-Year Jail Term Ahead of Sentencing Decision
Oscar Pistorius faces a return to prison tomorrow and a jail sentence of up to 15 years when South African High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa delivers her verdict following his sentencing hearing last month.
Pistorius, a six-time Paralympic champion, shot dead his former girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by firing four shots through a locked toilet door on Valentine’s Day in February 2013.
He claims he acted mistakingly in the belief she was an intruder and was originally convicted of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, in 2014.
But he was found guilty of murder by an appeals court the following year, a crime which has a minimum sentence of 15 years in jail under South African law.
In a dramatic three-day sentencing hearing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria last week, prosecutors demanded that he serve at least that sentence behind bars.
Defence witness and psychologist Jonathan Scholtz claimed, however, that he should not face jail as the ordeal had left him a “broken man”.
Defence attorney Barry Roux said during the hearing in Pretoria that the double amputee felt anxious and vulnerable, and was “guilty of being irrational” when firing the shots.
A sentence of correctional supervision was requested.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, meanwhile, argued that he armed himself with the intention of shooting whomever was in the bathroom, meaning he did show intent to kill.
“I think between 10 to 12 years should be the ballpark,” said Marius du Toit, a criminal-defense lawyer at Du Toit Attorneys.
“It’s rather tough to call it because both sides really did their best.”
Pistorius said last month that he feels Steenkamp would want him to be set free despite the charges against him.
Reeva’s father Barry was less sympathetic, claiming he “must pay” for killing his daughter.
Whatever the decision, it represents a remarkable fall from grace from the situation of four years ago, when Pistorius was preparing to become the first man to compete in an Olympic and a Paralympic Games.
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz