Oscar to be sentenced on the 6 July


Oscar Pistorius will be sentenced on Wednesday July 6 for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozila Masipa announced the date at the end of the sentencing proceedings of Pistorius.

Pistorius was initially convicted of culpable homicide and sentenced to a five-year prison term. He served just over the year of the sentence before being released on parole.

However‚ the Supreme Court of Appeal set aside the culpable homicide conviction in December last year and replaced it with murder. The appeal court also sent the case back to the high court for an appropriate sentence.

The court also granted an order lifting the ban of six photographs of Steenkamp which were taken after she was shot and killed in 2013.

Reeva’s father‚ Barry Steenkamp‚ had asked during his testimony on Tuesday that the media show the world the pictures of his daughter’s wounds inflicted by Pistorius.

When the case was heard in 2013‚ the court decided‚ at the request of the prosecution‚ to ban the images.

In his closing arguments‚ prosecutor Gerrie Nel requested the lifting of the ban‚ saying the prosecution’s interest was to protect integrity of the deceased’s family.

“The parents of the deceased‚ who are her legal guardians‚ have given permission for the release of the photographs.

“What people do with (the photographs)‚ they have to bear the consequences. We think it is time people see what the accused did‚” Nel said.

Masipa granted the request.

Wednesday marked the end of oral submissions in the sentencing proceedings which began on Monday.

While the defence team of Pistorius requested Judge Thokozile Masipa to impose a sentence which incorporated community service‚ the prosecution asked the court to impose the minimum 15 years prescribed by the law.

The defence team said Pistorius had been in prison for a year for killing Steenkamp and had been rehabilitated. It also said Pistorius had shown remorse.

“His rehabilitation should not be in dispute. There is no proper purpose in rehabilitating one who has been successfully rehabilitated‚” Roux said.

However‚ Nel said even if court were to find there were substantial and compelling circumstances‚ legislation precluded the court from wholly suspending the sentence.

“The starting point is 15 years.”

Nel said the sentence should act as a deterrent not to Pistorius‚ but to other people.

“The sentence by this court should deter people from acting in the same way.”

Nel also said the interests of the victims of crime must be added for the consideration of sentence.

Nel also said forgiveness by the victim’s family did not imply that the crime was less severe.

“Mr Steenkamp submitted that although her mother has expressed forgiveness‚ Mr Steenkamp indicated that the accused must nonetheless pay.”

Nel said the SCA stated that Pistorius was a very poor witness as it did not really know his true explanation of why he fired the shots which killed Steenkamp.

“We are still in the dark. This is an aggravating factor.”