Oscar Pistorius sentencing: Olympic star must serve 10 years, prosecutor urges


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The chief prosecutor in the Oscar Pistorius trial urged the judge on Friday to send the Olympic athlete to prison for at least 10 years, calling it the minimum acceptable term and noting the horrific nature of the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to announce Pistorius’s sentence on Tuesday. She adjourned court yesterday after chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel and chief defence lawyer Barry Roux presented their final arguments for sentencing, summing up the testimony in the week-long hearing.

Judge Masipa found Pistorius guilty last month of culpable homicide for negligently killing Ms Steenkamp, but acquitted him of murder.

Culpable homicide is comparable to manslaughter and the judge has a wide range of sentencing options. She could issue a suspended jail sentence and a fine, order the 27-year-old Paralympic champion to go under house arrest, or send him to prison for up to 15 years.


Mr Nel said to Judge Masipa: “The minimum term that society will be happy with is 10 years in prison.”

It was the first time prosecutors have said what sentence they are seeking. Mr Nel added: “This is a serious matter. The negligence borders on intent.”

Mr Roux said Pistorius did not act with any “deviousness” when he killed Ms Steenkamp, and acted while feeling extremely vulnerable and anxious. Pistorius testified he mistook Ms Steenkamp for a dangerous intruder in his home and claimed the shooting was a tragic accident.

Mr Roux described Pistorius’s suffering, both emotional and financial, since the shooting. “He’s lost everything. He was an icon in the eyes of South Africans,” Mr Roux said of the athlete.