South Africa: State required to present arguments over Oscar Pistorius's sentence

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – The South African Supreme Court of Appeal on Friday said the State must argue why it thinks the six-year jail sentence for convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius is lenient, following an appeal by the prosecution against the sentence that was handed down by the North Gauteng High Court in July.

"The application for leave to appeal is referred for oral argument in terms of s 17(2)(d) of the Superior Courts Act 10 of 2013. The parties must be prepared, if called upon to do so, to address the court on the merits," the court said.

PANA reports that this is the latest development in the long legal saga that began shortly after the Paralympian fired four shots at a bathroom door in his Pretoria home, killing his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.  

The double-amputee had initially been sentenced to five years in jail after being found guilty of culpable homicide in 2014. However, the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned that conviction and replaced it with one of murder.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said a long term of imprisonment would not serve justice in this matter. “The accused has already served 12 months, he is a first offender and he is not likely to re-offend."

The judge, who described the case as “difficult” and Pistorius as “a fallen hero”, said the life of the deceased would never be brought back. “The facts considered are the gravity of the offence, the interests of society, and the rights of the deceased and the accused.”

Both of Pistorius' legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old. He was the first athlete to compete at the Paralympic games and Olympic games, competing in sprint events for below-knee amputees in Paralympic events, and in non-disabled sprint events.  

At the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, Pistorius became the first amputee to win an non-disabled world track medal. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Pistorius became the first double leg amputee to participate in the Olympics.
-0- PANA CU/VAO 4Nov2016

04 november 2016 12:59:57

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