Zuma criticises Oscar's defence team

2014-10-21 15:36
Oscar Pistorius (File: AFP)

Oscar Pistorius (File: AFP)

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Pretoria – Oscar Pistorius’s disability was no basis for him to escape prison time President Jacob Zuma said, according to reports.

The Guardian reported that Zuma criticised the Paralympian’s defence team, who had argued that he should be spared prison because he is disabled and has money.

Pistorius was sentenced to five years behind bars on Tuesday for culpable homicide after a seven-month trial in the North Gauteng High Court for the death of Reeva Steenkamp at his Pretoria home in February 2013.

Zuma told The Guardian in Pretoria that there were physically challenged people in prison and that Pistorius’s disability and the fact that he had money was not an issue to debate.

Judge Thokozile Masipa handed down her sentence shortly after 10:30 on Tuesday morning.

"Count 1, culpable homicide, sentence imposed is maximum of five years."

He was also sentenced to three years in jail, suspended for five years, for discharging a firearm in a Johannesburg restaurant. Both sentences will run concurrently.

10 months

Pistorius will be eligible for his sentence to be commuted to correctional supervision after 10 months.

In terms of Section 276 of the Criminal Procedure Act, the accused may serve one-sixth of the sentence. For a five-year sentence, this would amount to 10 months.

"I have taken into account the seriousness of the offence, which led to the death of the deceased, the personal circumstances of the accused, and the interests of society," Judge Masipa said during sentencing.

"I am of the view that a non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message. A long sentence would also not be appropriate either as it would lack the element of mercy.

"If sentences are too lenient, the administration of justice will fall into disrepute and people will take law into their own hands.

"A suspended sentence would not be appropriate in my view," Masipa said.

"The loss of life can't be reversed. Hopefully judgment on sentence will provide some sort of closure for all concerned."

‘The impact the disability’

During the closing arguments Pistorius’s defence lawyer Barry Roux, said "We have a vulnerable person that used excessive force... He never ever entertained the thought that the deceased was in the toilet... he thought she was in the bedroom."

He said when people saw the athlete they did not realise the impact the disability had on him and the difficulties he faced.

"There is pain and treatment needed," he said.

Read more on:    oscar pistorius  |  jacob zuma  |  pistorius trial

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