Judge sentences Oscar Pistorius to 6-year imprisonment
South African sprint runner Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to a six-year imprisonment for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius had earlier served one year of his sentence when he was released from prison last October after being sentenced to a five-year term. Earlier he was convicted of homicide and manslaughter after he shot his girlfriend four times. Earlier in court, he had confessed to the act while maintaining that he had mistaken Reeva for a burglar.
This session was presided by Judge Thokozile Masipa and the final verdict means that the athlete will return to jail today. The Judge said that the evidence in the case was more “mitigating than aggravating” and therefore had decided to not resort to the 15-year maximum sentence that was applicable in this case. The evidence, she noted was substantial.
The mitigating factors, according to her, were that the athlete was vulnerable on his stumps without his prostheses, he believed the victim to be an intruder, he took steps to save the deceased once he realised who it was and she believed he was “genuinely remorseful”. The aggravating factors that did not work in his favour were the fact that he used a lethal weapon and fired four times without the precaution of a warning shot.
The hearing took place for nearly an hour during which Judge Masipa recognised and appreciated Oscar's offer to do community service and called it a “noble gesture” before rejecting it and delivering a punishment that fitted the crime.
“The life of the accused will never be the same. He is a fallen hero … He cannot be at peace,”she said while adding that she was not surprised to hear Pistorius described as a “broken man” by his family in court.
The defendant in the trial had earlier put forward evidence that the athlete needed immediate hospitalisation due to his fluctuating health but Judge Masipa dismissed it as not convincing enough. The court heard accounts that Pistorius struggled during his time in jail and multiple evidence of how he allegedly was aggressive towards the prison guards, to which she said, “[Being] quick-tempered does not necessarily mean he is a violent person.”
Rehabilitation for the accused was also considered at one point during the trial but it was observed that it may not be applicable owing to the fact that the nature of his crime had been upgraded to a murder. However, it was noted that Pistorius would be a “good candidate” for rehabilitation.
Since the verdict was finalised, Oscar has been taken back to the jail rooms.
Pistorius' sister, Aimee, was present in court and broke down once the sentence was passed. It is safe to assume that this might be the end of the athlete's career.