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Oscar Pistorius sentencing: Paralympian to find out if he will be jailed for culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius will learn whether he is to face time in prison for the 'culpable homicide' of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp

Ben Tufft
Monday 13 October 2014 10:56 BST

Disgraced former athlete Oscar Pistorius will return to court on Monday to discover his sentence for the 2013 Valentine's Day killing of Reeva Steenkamp. But South African prosecutors are refusing to say what charge they will push for or whether they will appeal.

There has been speculation as to whether Pistorius, 27, will face a custodial sentence, after he was found guilty of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend in September, following a six month trial.

Culpable homicide, the equivalent of manslaughter in the UK, can be punished by anything from 15 years in jail to a suspended or community sentence in South Africa.

Had he been found guilty of murder, the more serious charge, he would almost certainly be facing time behind bars.

Pre-sentencing arguments are due to be heard at the High Court in Pretoria on Monday, but the national prosecuting authority refused to be drawn on its plans.

Nathi Mncube, the body's spokesperson, told SABC News in South Africa:

"We will definitely argue for a sentence that we think is appropriate in respect of this culpable homicide charge that Mr Oscar Pistorius has been convicted of.

"And of course, how we are going to go about doing that we will keep that that close to our hearts until we do so in court.”

She added that the prosecutors would have to wait for sentencing before deciding whether or not to appeal. This is in accordance with South African law, which states that an appeal cannot be launched until a sentence has been passed.

Judge Thokozile Masipa's ruling last month, based on her assessment that the prosecutors had failed to prove Pistorius' intent to kill his girlfriend, was met with widespread criticism from legal experts and the public.

If the former track runner does not go to prison, it is likely there will be anger that, 20 years on from apartheid, it is possible for some to receive preferential justice.

One major South African newspaper has reported that legal experts believed Pistorius would avoid a prison term, while another reported he was likely to spend up to 10 years in jail.

It is expected that a definitive sentence will be delivered by the end of the week.

Additional Reporting by Reuters

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