Oscar sentenced to five years behind bars

BY CHARL BOSCH - OCTOBER 21, 2014

North Gauteng High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa, has sentenced Paralympian Oscar Pistorius to five years in jail for the shooting of his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his Silver Lakes estate home on Valentine’s Day last year. Pistorius’ defence has announced that it does not intend to appeal the decision despite having two weeks to do so. Judge Maspia also sentenced him to three years, suspended for five, for contriving the firearms act.

In passing her verdict, she stated that correctional supervision with community service, as outlined by the defence, would be viewed as inappropriate.

“A non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to society, but a long sentence would also be inappropriate as it would show a lack of mercy,” said Masipa.

She also rejected the statement given by probation officer, Annette Vergeer, about the conditions of prison, stating that Pistoius’ vulnerability has been “overemphasised” and that he had coped well with his disability, as proven by competing against abled bodies athletes during the 2012 London Olympics.

Likewise, she also added that Pistorius knew that someone was present in the toilet cubicle and that he was highly trained in the use of a firearm, when he fired four shots into the door after hearing a noise and mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder.

“The toilet was a small cubicle. An intruder would have had no room to manoeuvre or escape. An intruder wouldn’t have got out and the accused knew this. His aim was to shoot,” Masipa ruled.

She also stated that Pistroius had shown genuine remorse for Steenkamp’s death as evident by his conduct of “praying for the accused to live” after the shooting, and for reaching out to her parents.

Maspia acknowledged that the verdict had been in the best intrest of the public, stating that “society can't always get what they want. Courts don't exist to win popularity contests.

“It is impossible to deal with the interests of society without talking about the deceased,” she said, before adding, “nothing I say or do today will change what happened on 14 February 2013.”

Pistorius is believed to serve his sentence in a highly secured area of the Kgosi Mampuru Central Correctional Centre in Pretoria, consisting out of six cells, which, reportedly, also houses Czech fugitive, Radovan Krejcir.