There was no evil intent - Roux argues in Oscar SCA appeal

Oscar Pistorius. (File, Phill Magakoe, Pool Photo via AP)
Oscar Pistorius. (File, Phill Magakoe, Pool Photo via AP)

Bloemfontein – Judgment has been reserved in the State's appeal to have former athlete Oscar Pistorius' six-year jail sentence for murder increased.

Supreme Court of Appeal Justice Ronnie Bosielo said on Friday that because of the complexity of the matter, judgment had been reserved and it would be handed down in due course.

The State approached the SCA because it had felt that Pistorius' sentence was too lenient.

Barry Roux, for Pistorius began his submissions by saying Pistorius did not intend killing Steenkamp.

READ: 'The law must run its course' with Pistorius - Steenkamp family

Justice Pieter Meyer then pressed Roux to explain why Pistorius failed to give an explanation to the court for fatally shooting Reeva Steenkamp.

"The State's case is that there is no explanation why he fired four shots," he said.

Roux responded: "'It was an accident, I never meant to kill her,' that is what the respondent told the court," said Roux, adding that Pistorius did not simply get up, walk to the bathroom and fire four shots.

Roux said Pistorius fired the shots because he feared for his life.

'Why shoot four shots?'

Meyer told Roux that despite Pistorius shouting at the intruder, who he thought had broken into his house, there was no way that a person could have jumped out of the window because it was too small.

Roux was also asked what kind of burglar entered the house and went straight to the bathroom.

"He accepts that there was an intruder. Why shoot four shots at the intruder through the door?" Meyer asked.

Justice after Justice took turns to grill Roux, asking if Pistorius did not have an intention to kill Steenkamp, did he have an intention to murder the intruder. Bosielo asked Roux: "If he did not have an intention to kill, why did he fire four shots into the cubicle?"

Roux said Pistorius shot at the cubicle because he wanted to keep himself safe from the intruder.

"There was no evil intent from the onset," said Roux.

Justice Colin Lamont told Roux that the question of remorse could not be considered if Pistorius had no intention to murder Steenkamp, but was prepared to kill an intruder.

Meyer then told Roux that there was no explanation for Pistorius' actions.

Sentence

Roux said Judge Thokozile Masipa considered all the factors including aggravation, public perception and the fact that Pistorius had a disability before sentencing him to six years in jail.

"She exercised her discretion judicially."

READ: Masipa failed to give compelling reasons to deviate from longer sentence for Oscar, SCA hears

Earlier, Andrea Johnson, for the State told the court that Masipa failed to put forward substantial and compelling factors to deviate from the minimum sentence of 15 years for murder.

"The sentence should reflect the gravity of the crime. A balanced sentence must reflect the seriousness of the offence and the natural indignation and outrage of the public."

She told the court that Pistorius failed to show remorse during the trial.

Bosielo told Johnson that Pistorius did make an attempt to apologise and reach out to the Steenkamp family, but it was in vain.

Johnson said the sentence imposed was disproportionate to the crime committed and that it was "shockingly light".

Pistorius was arrested on February 14, 2013, for shooting and killing Steenkamp.

In 2014, Masipa found Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced him to five years in prison.

In October 2015, after spending one year in prison, Pistorius was freed and was allowed to continue serving the rest of his sentence under house arrest.

Later that year, the SCA overturned Masipa's judgment and convicted Pistorius of murder. Masipa later sentenced Pistorius to six years for the murder.

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