Oscar Pistorius sentenced for Reeva Steenkamp murder: Athlete could be released in one year

Judge Masipa sentences athlete to six years

Olivia Blair
Wednesday 06 July 2016 11:07
Oscar Pistorius sentenced to six years

Oscar Pistorius could potentially be released from prison in a year after being handed a six-year sentence for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The South African paralympic gold medallist was found guilty of murdering the 29-year-old model last year by an appeals court. He had initially received a five-year-sentence for culpable homicide in 2014, for which he served one year in prison, which was upgraded following the ruling by the appeals court.

Pistorius stood and looked on solemnly as Judge Thokozile Masipa delivered her verdict and he learnt he would not be spending 15 years in prison, the standard minimum sentence for murder.

Under South African law, people convicted are eligible to apply for "correctional supervision" after a sixth of their sentence has been served in prison. According to government documents, one type of correctional supervision is "where the Parole Board may place the offender under correctional supervision after one-sixth of the sentence has been served", which suggests Pistorius could apply after serving one year.

Correctional supervision removes the offender from prison but could instead place them under house arrest, with strict conditions such as rehabilitation programmes attached.

It is thought the time Pistorius has already served in prison for the culpable homicide charge will not count against his new sentence, reports the BBC.

His lawyer told Reuters they will not be appealing the six year sentence and they expect him to serve "between half and two-thirds of the sentence" before he can apply for parole.

Judge Masipa presided over sentencing for almost an hour. In her statement she said the "mitigating circumstances" which include "the accused approached the bathroom in the belief an intruder was inside," he wasn't wearing his prosthesis and felt "vulnerable" outweigh the aggravating factors including his use of a lethal weapon and firing "not one but four shots into the toilet door knowing full well that there was someone behind the door".

Here are some of her key remarks:

"The life of the accused will never be the same. He is a fallen hero."

"There is no evidence whatsoever that this case was based on gender violence."

"I take the view that mitigating circumstances outweigh the aggravating factors."

"It is easy to see here we are dealing with two different persons [Pistorius on his prostheses and on his stumps] To ignore this fact would lead to an injustice."

"The state says the accused has shown no remorse. I disagree."

"Public opinion may be loud and persistent, but it can play no role in the decision of this court."

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