Today the trial of the South African paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius comes to a conclusion, as he is sentenced to five years in prison for the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp,
After seven months, he was sentenced at Pretoria’s High Court, and was cleared of murdering Ms Steenkamp but convicted of culpable homicide, which could have led to a maximum sentence of 15 years.
Mr Pistorius has also been sentenced to a suspended sentence of three years in prison for a firearms charge.
Judge Masipa said that she considered her verdict “fair and just, both to society and to the accused.
“A non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message on the community. On the other hand, a long sentence would also not be appropriate either, as it would lack the element of mercy…hopefully, this judgement on sentence shall provide some sort of closure for the family.”
Defence lawyer Barry Roux said that his client would serve 10 months in prison, and the rest would be under house arrest.
The prosecution had called for a minimum sentencing of 10 years, while the defence appealed for community service and house arrest. The parents of Reeva Steenkamp have said that they were satisfied with the sentence and relieved that the case was finally over. However the mother June Steenkamp told Sky News “There is no closure without Reeva unless you can magic her back.”
Currently people are very split on this verdict: Some regarding the verdict as fair, others not so. The uncle of the athlete, Arnold Pistorius has said “Oscar will embrace this opportunity to pay back to society. As a last word I want to say something as an uncle. I hope Oscar will start his own healing process as he walks down the path of restoration.
“As a family, we are ready to spport and guide Oscar as he serves his sentence.”
However the ANC Women’s League released a statement explaining why Pistorius’s case should be appealed by the State in the South African newspaper The Citizen:
“Regardless of what the outcome of the sentencing is today, the ANC Women’s League remains dissatisfied with the verdict delivered by Judge Masipa finding Mr Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide instead of murder.”
It has been confirmed that there will be no appeal.