One of the most watched trials of the century has finally made its last stand as the gavel came down on the seven-month trial of South Africa’s former Golden Boy, Oscar Pistorius. Presiding over the trial, Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa read the sentence on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.
“Count 1, culpable homicide, sentence imposed is maximum of five years.”
Pistorius has been sentenced for killing his former girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The law graduate and super model was shot to death behind a closed and locked bathroom door at Pistorius’ luxury home in Pretoria, South Africa around 3 a.m. on February 14, 2013. Oscar Pistorius insists the killing was a terrible accident and that he believed Steenkamp was an intruder.
The New York Times writes that Judge Masipa stated she was trying to strike a balance between mercy and retribution in her sentencing. The South African judicial system does not have a jury system; the verdict and sentencing is reached by a single judge with the help of two legal assistants.
The Inquisitr writes that Judge Masipa acquitted Pistorius of the murder one charge sought by prosecutor Gerrie Nel, saying there was not enough evidence to convict Mr. Pistorius. Premeditated murder carries a mandatory 25-year to life sentence in South Africa.
Masipa also found Pistorius not guilty on two weapons related charges and guilty of firing a gun in a restaurant, for which he was sentenced to three years, suspended for five years, to run concurrently with his incarceration.
The parents of Reeva Steenkamp, June and Barry Steenkamp, expressed their relief that the trial was over and are simply grateful that Oscar Pistorius is going to pay for his crime. June stated that she and her husband were not concerned with the length of the sentence, will forgive Oscar, and work at putting their lives back together again.
The defense team of Oscar Pistorius led by Barry Roux has not revealed any plans to appeal the sentencing. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel has not tipped his hand either. The strain of such a public, high-profile case seems to have taken its toll on everyone, and for the moment all parties are willing to just let the chips fall where they may.
The Citizen reports that the African National Congress Women’s League (ANC) will appeal the sentence. The ANC assisted June Steenkamp as she attended the trial and helped her with financial and emotional support.
News 24 explains how a five year sentence could send Oscar Pistorius home in just 10 months. In terms of Section 276 of the Criminal Procedure Act, the accused may serve one-sixth of the sentence, which translates to 10 months for a five-year sentence. The rest of the sentence would mean house arrest for Oscar.
Pistorius is currently spending his first days at a maximum security prison with 7,000 other inmates. ESPN reports his first night was in the hospital wing of the Kgosi Mampuru facility. The world-famous Olympian, known as the “Blade Runner,” has hit the bottom of his fall from grace.
What are your thoughts on the sentencing?
[Image Antoine De Ras/Independent Newspapers via Associated Press]