Community service inappropriate - Nel

2014-10-17 12:33
State prosecutor Gerrie Nel. (Alon Skuy, Pool, AP)

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel. (Alon Skuy, Pool, AP)

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Pretoria - The community based punishment and house arrest proposed for Oscar Pistorius is an "inappropriate" punishment for the death of Reeva Steenkamp, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said in the North Gauteng High Court on Friday.

"He should go home, he should go stay in the luxurious house he is staying in," Nel said, citing the defence's argument.

He said the fact that Pistorius would not leave home unless it was to train or go to work and would also do two days of community service twice a month for three years, was not appropriate.

"Weighed up with what he did it is shockingly inappropriate."

He said it was important for the court to "observe" Steenkamp's cousin Kim Martin's evidence and her "real pain".

Martin told the court on Wednesday that correctional supervision was not enough for the death of her cousin.

"We shouldn't fail the parents in this instance."

He said that he will try not to become emotional but that every right thinking person would agree that there could be nothing worse than being at home and hearing your child has died.

"The seriousness of the crime, the interest of society, and that of the victim by far outweighs the circumstances of the accused," Nel said.

"What we have is a privileged person."

Nel said that the evidence given by his manager Petrus Van Zyl that Pistorius would have been a multi-millionaire had the shooting not happened "cannot be an argument".

Steenkamp died a violent death and she did nothing to contribute to her death, said Nel.

"She is totally innocent, she is dead now but she is totally innocent... She had nowhere to go."

Oscar tried to influence sentence

According to Nel, Pistorius tried to influence his sentence by giving money to Steenkamp's parents.

"The offer is nothing but an attempt to influence sentence," Nel said.

He said he was saddened when he heard about payments to the Steenkamp families and questioned why an offer was made between judgment and sentencing proceedings.

"If I heard that after this case was finalised Mr Pistorius donated money... it would be different. But no."

It emerged in court this week that Pistorius offered Barry and June Steenkamp R375 000 and made monthly payments of R6 000 between March 2013 and September this year.

June Steenkamp had rejected the lump sum offered as "blood money", said Nel.

The family said they would pay back the R6 000-a-month payments.

Nel said before Reeva Steenkamp's cousin Kim Martin testified this week, Barry Steenkamp had told her: "I wish I could do this [testify], but I can't. I will lose it."

Martin's testimony had painted a picture of a family that still could not cope with the loss of a daughter.

"They will never be able to cope."

On 12 September Judge Thokozile Masipa found Pistorius guilty of the culpable homicide of model and law graduate Steenkamp, but not guilty of her murder.

Pistorius had claimed he thought there was a burglar in his toilet when he fired four shots through the locked door in the early hours of 14 February last year, killing Steenkamp.

Masipa found Pistorius guilty of discharging a firearm in public, when a shot from his friend Darren Fresco's Glock pistol went off under a table at Tasha's restaurant in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, in January 2013.

Pistorius was found not guilty on two firearms-related charges - illegal possession of ammunition, and shooting through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein on 30 September 2012.

Read more on:    gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  barry roux  |  thokozile masipa  |  pistorius trial

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