LONDON: The sister of Paralympics runner Oscar Pistorius, who is serving a six-year sentence for killing his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, has said she is` grateful` to the South African judge for giving a lesser sentence to his brother.
While delivering her decision in a story that has attracted intense worldwide attention, Judge Thokozile Masipa said she had considered both aggravating and mitigating factors, such as rehabilitation and murder, and concluded that the latter outweighed the former.
Judge Masipa cited this factor as main reason for deviating from the prescribed 15-year sentence for murder. She also observed that a court should not be swayed by public opinion but added that punishment must also reflect the seriousness of the offence.
However, the ruling invited a flurry of criticism from women’s and other rights groups for accepting the defence argument to grant him a lesser sentence than the 15-year minimum term sought by prosecutors, the Guardian reported.
Appreciating the judge’s decision, Aimee Pistorius said she is happy to see the emphasis Masipa had made to distinguish a difference between the facts and the truth.
Aimee reiterated that Oscar had no intention of shooting Reeva and described the incident as terrible.
Pistorius, famously known as the Blade Runner, was released on parole in October 2015 and has been placed under house arrest since then at his uncle's house after serving almost a year in prison of his five-year sentence.
But the double-amputee athlete was found guilty of murder after the Supreme Court overturned his previous culpable homicide conviction in December following the state's successful attempt in challenging the verdict.
Pistorius has always denied deliberately killing Reeva in 2013 and claimed that he mistook her for an intruder before shooting her dead with four bullets fired through a closed toilet door.
Following the ruling, the 29-year-old was taken immediately to jail. Both the prosecution and defence can appeal.