It could be Oscar's last weekend as a free man

By admin
11 June 2016

How long might he be expected to spend behind bars this time? Experts weigh in.

This weekend will probably be Oscar Pistorius’s last weekend at home – and his last weekend outside of prison – for a very long time

The world-famous athlete is expected to be sentenced to further prison time next week.

Oscar’s case is set to start at the Pretoria High Court on Monday, and appears on the roll until Friday next week.

Oscar needs to be sentenced again after the Appellate Court in Bloemfontein decided that he had in fact murdered his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp when he shot her through the bathroom door on Valentine’s Day 2013.

The paralympian made headlines again this week after it emerged he had sat down for his first interview since the incident with ITV's Mark William-Thomas on his version of what happened in his luxury Silver Woods estate home in the early hours of that fateful morning. The documentary titled Oscar Pistorius: The Interview will air on 24 June on the UK channel.

Read more: ‘It was MY decision, not Oscar’s’: Arnold Pistorius on new Oscar documentary

Chances are high that Oscar won’t be at his uncle Arnold Pistorius’s luxury home in Waterkloof to watch the documentary. He will probably already be behind bars.

Marius du Toit, a lawyer from Centurion says he will be shocked if Oscar isn’t sentenced by next week Friday, “because all the witnesses have already been presented.”

“The testimonies have already been heard. The basis of the reports is the same. The contents of the reports are also the same. No new information has been brought to light.”

“All that differs is the options for sentencing and the recommendations, because now the crime is murder and not culpable homicide.”

Marius’s prediction is that Oscar will get up to 10 years behind bars. He says that when Judge Thokozile Masipa sentenced him in October 2014 she said that the culpable homicide crime with which he was being charged is negligence which borders on intent, “so Judge Masipa already charged him at the top end of the culpable homicide scale.”

Read more: Starting afresh: Oscar’s sister Aimée leaves SA

On the one end of the sentencing scale, says Marius, Oscar has already received a sentencing of 5 years for culpable homicide. Although the law only made provision for Oscar to serve 10 months of the sentence, he ended up spending a year behind bars.

On the other end of the sentencing scale the minimum sentence for murder, except if there is a different set of circumstances which would cause Judge Masipa to lessen the sentence.

“My reasoning is that Oscar has already spent a year in jail. He’s lost everything. His athletics career is over and done. He is financially ruined. On top of that he was also sentenced to five years in prison for culpable homicide. He went from hero to zero because of this. His whole has changed. If it were fair a 10 or 11 year sentence should be imposed on him.”

Sandton lawyer Ian Levitt also predicts a sentence of 10 years.

Read more: ‘It was definitely him’: Katie Price on the messages she received from Oscar Pistorius during his trial

According to Ian, Masipa found, during his court hearing, that Oscar didn’t know that Reeva was behind the door.

“Masipa found that Pistorius thought Reeva was a burglar or robber behind the bathroom door. Even if it is murder, the sentence for the murder of a robber or burglar is lighter than when you are found guilty of killing your wife or girlfriend,” says Ian.

Dr Llewellyn Curlewis, president of the council of Lawyers of the Northern Provinces thinks Masipa is going to sentence Oscar to 12 years in prison.

“Masipa showed the first time around that she is sympathetic to Oscar. She has the discretion to give him the minimum sentence of 15 years. But then the time he’s spent in prison needs to be subtracted.”

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