Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years in jail for killing Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in jail for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Judge Thokozile Masipa, issuing the ruling in court in Pretoria, also gave Oscar Pistorius a three-year suspended sentence for a firearms charge.
The prosecution had called for a minimum 10-year sentence; the defense for community service and house arrest.
Oscar Pistorius, 27, was convicted of culpable homicide but cleared of murder.
Judge Thokozile Masipa said: “Sentencing is about achieving the right balance. Sentencing is not a perfect exercise.”
She said there must be a balance between retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation.
The judge began summarizing the evidence brought before the trial.
She described the evidence of defense witness and social worker Annette Vergeer as “slapdash and disappointing”.
Annette Vergeer had argued Oscar Pistorius would be “a lot more vulnerable than the normal man” in jail.
Judge Thokozile Masipa said she was sure prisons were equipped to cater for the requirements of a special needs inmate.
She also said she had a “feeling of unease” at what she called an overemphasis on the athlete’s vulnerability.
However, she said Oscar Pistorius had made an “enormous contribution to society”, in his charity work and in changing the public perception of disability.
The judge then read out a quote from previous legal opinion, saying that if sentences were too lenient, the administration of justice may fall into disrepute.
She said she found the suggestions of sentences made by defense witnesses “not appropriate”.
Oscar Pistorius, an amputee sprinter who became the first athlete to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, killed Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.
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