Oscar Pistorius sentenced to 6 years in Prison

Oscar Pistorius  (Photo by Herman Verwey/City Press/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Oscar Pistorius (Photo by Herman Verwey/City Press/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.
The verdict comes after his initial five-year conviction for manslaughter was changed to murder last December on appeal.
He was taken immediately to jail. Both the prosecution and defence can appeal.
Pistorius, 29, shot Reeva Steenkamp four times through a locked toilet door in February 2013.
He admitted shooting her, but said he mistook Ms Steenkamp for an intruder and acted out of fear.
In an hour-long session, Judge Thokozile Masipa said mitigating circumstances, such as rehabilitation and remorse, outweighed aggravating factors for deviating from the prescribed 15-year sentence for murder.
Pistorius sentencing reaction – live updates
Pistorius, a fallen idol
My friend Reeva Steenkamp
Shock and dismay, by Pumza Fihlani, BBC News, in Pretoria
Many have expressed shock at Oscar Pistorius’s sentence, which is much less than the prescribed minimum for murder here. South Africans have taken to social media to express their unhappiness, with some describing the prison term as an insult.
Outside court, legal experts said the sentence was too little. “The judge was sympathetic and empathetic to Pistorius. It was clear in the tone of her entire judgement,” one said.
But Ms Masipa said she carefully considered the circumstances around Reeva Steenkamp’s death and her sentence needed to be fair to both Pistorius and the family of the deceased.
South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world, and some say a short sentence will send the wrong message to would-be-offenders.
Dressed in a dark suit, Pistorius listened to the judge sat, mostly with his head down.
He hugged his sister after the verdict was announced, and was taken to Khosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria.
Ms Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June, sat on the other side of the courtroom, which was packed with journalists and observers.
Pistorius has already served one year in jail over his previous conviction.
He is legally obliged to serve half of his new sentence in prison before being eligible for parole.
Barry Steenkamp later told the BBC he was pleased that the trial was over even though life would never be the same again.
Ms Steenkamp’s parents had previously expressed disappointment with the initial five-year sentence, an opinion shared by many South Africans. Women’s rights groups considered it too lenient.
But in her decision, Judge Masipa said her opinion was that “a long term in prison will not serve justice”.
“Public opinion may be loud and persistent but it can play no role in the decision of this court,” she said.
Ms Masipa also said there was “no indication” the victim was in an abusive relationship or this was a case of “gender violence”.
Some rights groups have also said Pistorius, a wealthy white man and international celebrity, has received preferential treatment compared to others without his status or wealth.
The six-time Paralympic gold medallist made history by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics, in 2012 in London, running on prosthetic “blades”.
He had his legs amputated below the knee as a baby.
Rise and fall of Oscar Pistorius
August 2012: Competes in London Olympics and Paralympics, where he won a gold medal
February 2013: Shoots dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
March 2014: Trial begins
September 2014: Judge finds Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide
October 2014: Begins five-year sentence
October 2015: Transferred to house arrest
December 2015: Appeal court changes verdict to murder
July 2016: Sentenced to six years in jail for murder

Courtesy of BBC NEWS

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