Pistorius Back in Court for Pre-sentencing Arguments

Oscar Pistorius returns to court today at the start of his sentencing hearing after he was convicted of culpable homicide in the killing of his girlfriend, with his lawyers set to argue for leniency.

Published: 13th October 2014 11:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th October 2014 11:20 AM   |  A+A-

Pistorius2_AP

Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock looking in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday | AP

By PTI

JOHANNESBURG: Fallen paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius returns to court today at the start of his sentencing hearing after he was convicted of culpable homicide in the killing of his girlfriend, with his lawyers set to argue for leniency.

The double-amputee track star last month escaped a murder conviction in a verdict that shocked the country and fuelled criticism of South Africa's legal system.

Kicking off what is expected to be a lengthy sentencing process, the defence team will bring mitigation arguments before Judge Thokozile Masipa in the High Court in Pretoria.

Prosecutors will follow by arguing for aggravating circumstances.

The process is expected to last up to four days, with Masipa then likely adjourning court and announcing her sentencing decision at a later date.

The "Blade Runner" could face as much as 15 years in one of South Africa's notoriously brutal prisons or could dodge a jail term altogether with a non-custodial sentence after being foundd guilty on the equivalent of a manslaughter charge, but not guilty of premeditated murder.

The court will begin by hearing defence witnesses testify on why Pistorius should not serve time behind bars.

They are likely to argue that the country's prisons are not suited for his disability and that the 2012 London Paralympics silver medallist is a first time offender.

Lawyer David Dadic said the defence will "heavily expand on their trial argument regarding Oscar's remorsefulness" in killing his girlfriend of Reeva Steenkamp.

"The biggest factor, however, which the defence will raise is, of course, the fact that Oscar is a first time offender," he added.

In turn, the state will call witnesses to testify on why he should serve the stiffest penalty, raising the issue of his history of negligence with firearms. After the sentence is handed down, both the state and defence can appeal, a legal process likely to drag out for years.

In September, Judge Masipa ruled the 27-year-old did not knowingly shoot to kill 29-year-old model and law graduate Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013.

The sprinter admitted he fired four hollow point bullets through a locked toilet door in his upmarket Pretoria home, but said he believed he had been shooting at a burglar.

Masipa's ruling outraged many South Africans, including lawyers who believed she misinterpreted the definition of murder and questioned whether the justice system is failing the crime-plagued country.

Pistorius is currently out on bail of one million rand (USD 90,000). He had to sell his posh house inside a gated compound in Pretoria, the scene of the crime, to fund the cost of the trial, and has withdrawn from competitive sport since his arrest.

Also Read

Oscar Pistorius Faces Sentencing This Week 

Pistorius Can Compete again in Paralympics  

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp