Oscar being treated like a ping-pong ball - Roux

2016-08-26 11:28
Barry Roux, lawyer of paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, is seen on day 10 of his murder trial at the North Gauteng High Court. (Phill Magakoe, AFP)

Barry Roux, lawyer of paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, is seen on day 10 of his murder trial at the North Gauteng High Court. (Phill Magakoe, AFP)

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Johannesburg – The State's repeated appeals against Oscar Pistorius were prolonging his uncertainty and bouncing him between courts "like a ping-pong ball", the High Court in Johannesburg heard on Friday.

"What does the State want? Ten years? What is the practical effect of that? Legal process prolonged and the respondent must sit and be subjected to uncertainty," Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux told Judge Thokozile Masipa.

He was arguing for Masipa to dismiss the State's application to appeal the six-year sentence for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp she imposed on Pistorius on July 6. She had originally sentenced him to five years for culpable homicide.

She later dismissed the appeal with costs.

Roux said the State was showing a lot of prejudice towards Pistorius. Suggesting he merely showed "some regret" was "so wrong". "The man was crying, he was praying."

It was an insult for the State to say that the court had not taken the 15-year minimum sentence for murder into account. The court had not applied unfettered discretion in passing sentence.

He rejected the State's argument that the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) found Pistorius showed no remorse. The SCA had not looked at Pistorius' personal circumstances, but only at questions of law. Only Masipa would have been in a position to consider such factors in deciding on an appropriate sentence.

"You feel it, you smell it, you see it. You're there. You have that first-hand experience," Roux told her.

"Would the sentence always be perfect? No, My Lady."

He said Pistorius had been in effect sentenced to eight years in jail and rejected the State's claim that it was "shockingly inappropriate". He was a vulnerable man who, one night, made the "mistake of his life".

On December 3 last year, the SCA overturned Masipa's culpable homicide verdict and replaced it with that of murder. It ordered Masipa to resentence Pistorius.

Read more on:    oscar pistorius  |  barry roux  |  pistorius trial
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