Disability not reason for non-imprisonment, court hears

2014-10-14 16:09
(File: AP)

(File: AP)

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Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius's disability should not be the reason he is not incarcerated, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked social worker and probation officer Annette Vergeer during cross-examination: "Are you saying that disabled people should not be in prison?"

Vergeer responded: "That is not what I said... what I am trying to say My Lady is that it is more difficult.

"It is difficult for an able [bodied] person. So it will be more difficult for a disabled person."

She told the court that despite his disability, Pistorius coped "very well".

Vergeer said the Paralympian's mobility in prison could be impaired when they took away his prosthetic legs.

"[It could be a] case for rape within the prison... gang rape. How can we say that he won't be exposed to that?" she asked.

"Whether his legs are taken away or not taken away, he will be exposed to that."

She added: "You cannot glue his legs to his body".

Nel said that there was no guarantee that Pistorius's legs would be taken away if he went to prison.

On 12 September Pistorius was found guilty of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend, model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp, but not guilty of her murder.

Pistorius had claimed he thought there was a burglar in his toilet when he fired four shots through the locked door in the early hours of 14 February last year, killing Steenkamp. The State had argued he killed her during an argument.

Judge Thokozile Masipa also found Pistorius guilty of discharging firearm in public, when he shot from his friend Darren Fresco's Glock pistol under a table at Tasha's restaurant in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, in January 2013.

Pistorius was found not guilty on two firearms-related charges - illegal possession of ammunition, and shooting through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein on 30 September 2012.

Read more on:    gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  thokozile masipa  |  crime  |  pistorius trial

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