‘Let the world see what Oscar did’ – Nel, on Reeva photos

Oscar Pistorius greets his father Henke Pistorius. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko, Pool/AP
Oscar Pistorius greets his father Henke Pistorius. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko, Pool/AP

The crime scene photos detailing the death of Reeva Steenkamp will be released to the public.

Judge Thokozile Masipa this afternoon granted the state’s request to release the pictures.

“Let us show the world what this accused did. It wasn’t an intruder,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the North Gauteng High Court while arguing in aggravation of sentence.

Nel’s application for the court to lift a ban on the photos of the gunshot wounds inflicted on Steenkamp came minutes after Oscar Pistorius’ lawyer Barry Roux had his client walk across the court on his stumps minutes before, to show his vulnerability.

“Mr Roux wanted the court and the world to see. We now apply to let the world see what this accused did with four Black Talon rounds through a door. I will apply, when I have had the discussion with the family, for the court to lift the ban on the photos,” he said.

Black Talon rounds disintegrate into sharp metal fragments when they hit human flesh, causing horrific injuries.

Earlier, Pistorius had painstakingly made his way across courtroom GD on his stumps.

“It’s time to explain our address to you,” his lawyer Roux, told Judge Masipa moments before.

He said that just as Steenkamp’s father Barry yesterday called for the world to be shown photos of the gunshot wounds his daughter had sustained, so too should people see Pistorius’s vulnerability.

Pistorius, who got changed into running shorts and a T-shirt during the tea break, got up from his seat in the dock and walked to the side of the court where he sat down. Steenkamp’s father Barry had to get up to let him pass.

“Just take off the legs,” Roux instructed him. Pistorius did as he was told. Three police officers next to him looked uncomfortable as he took off his prostheses. Pistorius got up and slowly made his way across the court, in front of Masipa’s bench, steadying himself on the furniture. He kept his eyes down.

Several old ladies who had been in court all week to show their support for him, began sobbing.

Pistorius reached the left side of the court and stopped, holding on to a bench. His psychologist Lore Hartzenberg came up to him to comfort him. Someone handed him a tissue as he began crying.

He stood there for several minutes as Roux continued talking.

“It’s not a man running on two healthy legs. It’s a severely compromised person.”

Pistorius made his way back across the court, his face red and streaked with tears. He sat down next to the police officers, put his prostheses back on and walked back into the dock. He sat there, doubled over, hiding his face in his hands.

Nel argued that Pistorius had to be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years for Steenkamp’s murder.

“Courts have a duty to impose minimum sentences,” he told Masipa during his closing arguments.

He said sentencing Pistorius to correctional supervision would fail to pay “due regard” to the benchmark of 15 years for murder, which was set down by law. He quoted from a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling that crime was still on the rise in South Africa.

“One notices all too frequently a willingness on the part of sentencing courts to deviate from minimum sentences for the flimsiest of reasons,” Nel read.

He was quoting the appeal court’s ruling that overturned Masipa’s finding that Pistorius was guilty of culpable homicide for killing Steenkamp in February 2013.

The court replaced it with a verdict of murder. It found that he was a poor witness, and that he never provided an acceptable explanation for firing the shots that killed Steenkamp.

Nel said finding that Pistorius had expressed remorse was unacceptable since he had not offered a credible explanation for his actions. “Remorse for what?” Nel asked.

Pistorius will be sentenced on July 6. – News24 
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