Oscar sentenced


Judge Thokozile Masipa handed down Oscar's sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

The paralympian was sentenced to five years imprisonment for the culpable homicide killing of his girlfriend, Judge Masipa said.
'The decision is mine and mine alone'

He was also sentenced to three years, suspended for five years, for firing a pistol under a table at Tasha's restaurant in Johannesburg in January 2013.

The sentences would run concurrently.

Earlier, she said the department of correctional services was equipped to deal with people who have disabilities like Oscar Pistorius.

"If the accused had to get a custodial sentence it would not be the first time the correctional services department would be confronted with an inmate with a disability," Masipa said.

"I have no reason therefore that the accused would present the department of correctional service with an insurmountable challenge."

Masipa dealt with defence witnesses social worker Joel Maringa and social worker and probation officer Annette Vergeer.

"Taking note of the evidence of Mr Maringa, I was not impressed by the evidence of Miss Vergeer," she said. "It was disappointing and had a negative impact on her credibility as a witness."

She said prosecutor Gerrie Nel was correct to describe her evidence as "sketchy, uninformed" and to negatively reflect the prisons on South Africa.

"It was unhelpful... I find it quite disturbing from someone with 28 years of experience," she said.

As Masipa spoke Reeva Steenkamp's father Barry sat with his arms folded.

Masipa also addressed the issue of Pistorius' disability.

"I heard witness after witness over-emphasising the accused's vulnerability," she said in the High Court in Pretoria during the athlete's sentencing for the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

"Yes, the accused is vulnerable but he also has excellent coping skills... He really saw himself as disabled [but] worked hard....and became respected worldwide."

She said Pistorius's contribution to society had been enormous.

"He gave this time and money to charities... and changed the public's perception of disabled people. This cannot be ignored and ought to be put into perspective," said Masipa.

"Although I am sitting with two assessors on this matter, the decision is mine and mine alone," Judge Masipa began proceedings by saying.

"Sentencing is about achieving the right balance..."

She said that when finding an appropriate sentence, the nature and seriousness of the crime and the interest of society are among the things that had to be taken into account.

On September 12, Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide on for the Valentine's Day 2013, shooting of Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse. The court found him not guilty of murdering Steenkamp.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through the locked door of the toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to emerge and attack him. She was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Pistorius was found guilty of firing a pistol under a table at Tasha's restaurant in Johannesburg in January 2013. He was found not guilty of shooting through the open sunroof of a car in Modderfontein on September 30, 2012, and of illegal possession of ammunition.


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