Oscar Pistorius murder sentencing kicks-off

JUNE 13, 2016

By 9:00am on Monday a massive media contingency had gathered one more time outside the Pretoria High Court for the start of sentencing of former Paralympian and convicted murderer, Oscar Pistorius. 

Early on, the Steenkamps, the parents of Pistorius' former girlfriend, whom he shot dead on Valentines Day 2013, as well as some of Pistorius' family members were also seen arriving at the court.

Sentencing procedures have been set down for a week and will be heard by Judge Thokozile Masipa, who originally found Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide in October 2014. The process is expected to be similar to a trial, and the defence and State would be able to call witnesses to argue in aggravation and mitigation of sentencing, and could cross-examine them.

Pistorius's defence is expected to start the proceedings, which will include psychology reports and his efforts to rehabilitate. The State is expected to argue for a 15-year sentence.

Meanwhile, a group of supporters of Pistorius from the SA Prisoners Unemployed Political Party also picketed outside the High Court saying that, while they symphathise with the Steenkamp family over what happened, they would want to see Pistorius set free because what happened was a terrible accident that could have happened to anyone.

The 29 year-old former Paralympic sprinter has spent the last few months under house arrest at his uncle’s luxurious home in an upmarket Pretoria surbub.

He should have gotten out after 10 months, or a sixth of his culpable homicide sentence, but the Minister of Justice intervened.

The Supreme Court of Appeal then judged that Pistorius should have been convicted of murder because of a key legal principle that is known as dolus eventualis.

Before his release into his uncle's custody, Pistorius spent about a year in a private cell in the hospital wing of the maximum-security prison, Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre, in Pretoria. He could be going straight back to that cell after the sentencing hearing.

Image: Oscar Pistorius supporters outside the Pretoria High Court. Image courtesy of Alex Crawford via Twitter.