Steenkamp died horrendous death - Nel

2014-12-09 11:24
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The State's application for leave to appeal Oscar Pistorius's sentence and conviction is to be heard in the North Gauteng High Court. View the images here.

Pretoria - Reeva Steenkamp was an innocent woman who died a horrendous death, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

"An innocent woman was shot and killed in the most horrendous circumstances," prosecutor Gerrie Nel said.

"This is not an instance where shots were fired and someone died... Her death was caused by gross negligence of this respondent."

Nel was arguing the State's application for leave to appeal paralympian Oscar Pistorius's conviction of culpable homicide for killing Steenkamp, and his five-year jail term.

Judge Thokozile Masipa sentenced him on 21 October.

The State filed papers last month calling for a harsher conviction and sentence.

Nel said that for the defence to present evidence from probation officer Annette Vergeer during aggravation of sentencing, that prisons were not equipped to deal with his disability, showed a lack of remorse.

"To present evidence like this... is not an indication of someone who has remorse," he said.

"The remorse didn't carry through to sentencing."

Vergeer had told the court there were no handrails in prison showers and that the floors were slippery.

Nel said Pistorius did not have rails in the shower in his own home.

'Did not act responsibly'

Pistorius testified that he accidentally shot Steenkamp dead through the locked toilet door of his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year. He said he thought she was an intruder.

He was sentenced to five years for culpable homicide, and three years for discharging a firearm at Tasha's restaurant in Sandton, Johannesburg, in January 2013. The three-year sentence was suspended for five years.

Nel argued on Tuesday that Pistorius did not act responsibly when he fired into the toilet cubicle.

"The respondent [Pistorius] knew there was someone in the toilet. He knew it. He fired four shots," Nel said.

He said the athlete, who was trained to handle firearms, fired four shots into the cubicle knowing it was small and that the person inside had no way to escape.

"Certainly that deserves to be punished... It's not someone who didn't know where the person was."

The court showed "too much" mercy, Nel added.

Read more on:    gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  pretoria  |  pistorius trial

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