Oscar Pistorius sentenced to 5 years in prison

2014-10-21 10:44

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Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years' imprisonment for the culpable homicide killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said he was also sentenced to three years, suspended for five years, for firing a pistol under a table at Tashas restaurant in Joburg in January 2013.

The sentences would run concurrently.

Pistorius shook hands with his family members before the police escorted him to the holding cells.

Steenkamp's mother June smiled at Gina and Kim Myers. Gina rubbed her best friend's mother's back as they spoke.

Masipa said the department of correctional services was equipped to deal with people who have disabilities like Oscar Pistorius.

“If the accused had to get a custodial sentence it would not be the first time the correctional services department would be confronted with an inmate with a disability,” Masipa said.

“I have no reason therefore that the accused would present the department of correctional service with an insurmountable challenge.”

She said that there was no dispute that Pistorius’ disability was a “big challenge”.

Masipa dealt with defence witnesses social worker Joel Maringa and social worker and probation officer Annette Vergeer.

“Taking note of the evidence of Mr Maringa, I was not impressed by the evidence of Miss Vergeer,” she said.

Vergeer’s evidence did not “aspire” the court, she said.

“It was disappointing and had a negative impact on her credibility as a witness.”

She said prosecutor Gerrie Nel was correct to describe her evidence as “sketchy, uninformed” and to negatively reflect the prisons in South Africa.

“It was unhelpful ... I find it quite disturbing from someone with 28 years of experience,” she said.

Earlier, Masipa said Pistorius was vulnerable but he also had excellent coping skills.

“I heard witness after witness over-emphasising the accused’s vulnerability,” she said.

“Yes, the accused is vulnerable but he also has excellent coping skills ... He ... worked hard ... and became respected worldwide.”

She said Pistorius’ contribution to society had been enormous.

“He gave this time and money to charities ... and changed the public’s perception of disabled people. This cannot be ignored and ought to be put into perspective,” said Masipa.

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