Countdown for Oscar

2014-10-11 14:15
Oscar Pistorius. (Themba Hadebe, AP, Pool)

Oscar Pistorius. (Themba Hadebe, AP, Pool)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - Disgraced Paralympian Oscar Pistorius appears in court on Monday to face sentencing for shooting dead his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp

In September, Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled the 27-year-old did not knowingly shoot to kill Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013, and found him guilty on the lesser charge of culpable homicide. 

He faces 15 years in jail or could dodge a jail term altogether with a non-custodial sentence after being found not guilty of premeditated murder.

Some lawyers believed Judge Masipa misinterpreted the definition of murder.

The sentencing starts not even a week after another judge overturned the murder convictions of another South African celebrity, hip-hop artist Molemo "Jub Jub" Maarohanye, who killed four school children with his Mini Cooper and leaving two others with brain damage.

His conviction was reduced to culpable homicide on appeal and his has been reduced from 25 years in jail to eight.

"The sense is we're just too soft on crime," said Martin Hood, a criminal lawyer based in Johannesburg.

"We keep seeing that over and over again, we have magistrates and judges who have the discretion to impose harsh sentences and they simply don't do it," said Hood.

"They are massively influenced by the costs of holding a prisoner and by the overcrowding of people in prisons."

No prescribed sentence

Judge Masipa will begin proceedings next week by hearing defence witnesses who will testify on why Pistorius should not serve time behind bars.

She will then turn to the State, who will call witnesses to testify on why he should serve the stiffest penalty.

A conviction of culpable homicide does not have a prescribed sentence as the penalty is at the judge's discretion.

Masipa will likely adjourn court to consider the evidence before setting another date to hand down the sentence.

However, that will probably not mark the end of the case.

After the sentence is handed down, both the State and defence can appeal.

"The State can only appeal on grounds of law," said Ulrich Roux, a Johannesburg-based criminal lawyer.

"In this instance, that the murder principal has been applied incorrectly by the judge."

The defence can appeal the conviction of culpable homicide or the sentence - or both - said Roux.

"They can say the judge made an error in considering the facts or interpreting the law," he said.

Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  thokozile masipa  |  pretoria  |  pistorius trial

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.