LETTER: Pistorius sentencing unfair for victims and families

2016-07-14 06:00

South Africa’s criminal justice system aims to enforce the law, prosecute offenders and punish convicted criminals.

As a South African, or maybe just as a moral human being, it’s hard not to feel outraged that Oscar Pistorius received only a six-year prison sentence for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.

It is said he will serve at least half of his sentence before being eligible for parole. The ANC Women’s League has slammed the sentence, calling it an insult to women.

Crimes should be measured by their damage to society and, more importantly, by their harm to the victims and their families.

Oscar’s sentence is shockingly light, inappropriate and would not have been imposed by a reasonable court. The judge first said the minimum sentence for Pistorius would be 15 years. However, as the hearing went on, the judge stressed how Pistorius was now a broken man.

A sentence of less than 15 years appeared unavoidable when she insisted that Pistorius could be rehabilitated.

Oscar Pistorius is not a broken person who needs to be fixed; he is a criminal who deserves to be punished accordingly.

The emotions you feel when you read about a criminal escaping punishment are rooted in a basic human need for justice and fairness. It is natural to want to see justice being served.

The judge failed to consider that Pistorius acted with gross negligence and had fired shots into a small toilet cubicle from which there was no room to escape.

Cebo Lepile via email

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