NPA: State will argue for maximum sentence

2014-10-13 09:34
File: AP

File: AP

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Culpable homicide carries no minimum sentence - expert

2014-10-13 09:09

Sentencing for Oscar Pistorius, who has been found guilty of culpable homicide for the killing of Reeva Steenkamp, is underway in the North Gauteng High Court today. Criminal law expert William Booth explains there is no minimum sentence for culpable homicide - it is up to Judge Masipa's to discretion. WATCH

Pretoria - The State will argue in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday that paralympian Oscar Pistorius must get the maximum sentence for culpable homicide, the National Prosecuting Authority said.

"Our duty is to make sure... we ask for the harshest sentence possible," spokesperson Nathi Mncube said outside court.

He said the State would argue for a sentence that fit the severity of the crime.

Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide on 12 September for the Valentine's Day 2013 shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

"He was convicted of culpable homicide, somebody lost a life and we think that deserves the harshest sentence," said Mncube.

"We do not decide what is the appropriate sentence... Our responsibility is to argue for a harsh sentence.

Victim impact statement

"The minimum sentence act does not apply to culpable homicide, so there is no minimum or maximum sentence. It can vary from a suspended sentence to a fine to imprisonment. Only the judge can decide."

The State prepared a victim impact statement on how the case affected family members and the friends, he said.

Mncube said the defence and State could either call witnesses or go straight into arguments. They would be allowed to cross-examine witnesses.

He said it would be unethical at this point to comment on whether the State would appeal the judgment or not.

"We have to wait until the sentence is handed down," he said.

Barry and June Steenkamp, Reeva's parents arrived at court on Monday morning. So did some of Steenkamp's friends.

On 12 September, Judge Thokozile Masipa found the paralympian not guilty of murdering Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on Valentine's Day last year, but convicted him of culpable homicide.

Firearms-related charges

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through the locked door of the toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to emerge and attack him. She was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Masipa said that there was no basis for the court to make the inference that Pistorius wanted to kill Steenkamp.

She said evidence showed that Pistorius acted negligently when he fired into the toilet door knowing there was someone behind it.

With regard to firearms-related charges, Masipa found Pistorius guilty of firing a Glock pistol belonging to his friend Darren Fresco under a table at Tasha's restaurant in Johannesburg in January 2013.

However, she found him not guilty of shooting through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with Fresco and ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor in Modderfontein on 30 September 2012.

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

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