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Oscar Pistorious: the case still not terminated yet

Viewed 1294 times 2014-10-22 10:03 |Personal category:reading note|System category:News| sensation, process, likely, across, couple

The case of Oscar Pistorious has a worldwide sensation across the world with the focus on the weighing of the mesasurement of penalty for blade-runner. Both the privacy of the vanity couple and the legal process are equally in scrutiny.

Now it's likely the case is in the end with the sentencing of five years in jail for the doule amputee track star. But there are still some variants.

FT reports
-------------------------------
Oscar Pistorius, the South African Olympic and Paralymic star, has been sentenced to five years in jail for the culpable homicide, or manslaughter, of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The sentencing by Judge Thokozile Masipa is the final chapter of a trial that has at times been controversial and which throughout has been packed with incredible drama and emotion, captivating a global television audience, reports Andrew England in Johannesburg.

Mr Pistorius was formally found guilty of "culpable homicide" and one count of contravening weapons act by firing a 9mm pistol in a busy restaurant.

For a separate conviction of contravening a firearms act, Pistorius was sentenced to three years, which was suspended for five years. The two sentences would run concurrently.

In making her ruling, Judge Masipa said she wanted a sentence that was fair and just to both society and the accused.
She said a non-custodial sentence "would send the wrong message to the community," while adding that "on the other hand a long sentence would not be appropriate as it would lack the element of mercy".

It is a trial that has borne witness to the spectacular fall from grace of one of the world's most recognisable athletes: a double-amputee who earned iconic status in South Africa and beyond after competing against able-bodied track stars in the 2012 London Olympics.

During the sentencing process last week, Mr Pistorius's defence described the 27-year-old as a broken man.

"He was an icon for what he has achieved. He's lost everything. He lost all his sponsors. He lost all his money," Barry Roux, defence lawyer, told the court in Pretoria, South Africa's capital. "He has nothing. There is nothing left of this man."

Mr Roux had argued that Mr Pistorius – dubbed the "blade-runner" because of the distinct carbon fibre blades he runs on - should be given community service. He said he had been punished enough and shown remorse for shooting to death Reeva Steenkamp, his girlfriend, during the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

But the prosecution countered that Mr Pistorius should be jailed for a minimum of 10 years. In South Africa, the sentence for culpable homicide can range from a fine to lengthy imprisonment.

"We shouldn't fail the parents. We shouldn't fail society," Gerrie Nel, the leader prosecutor, said ahead of the sentencing. "Society may lose its trust in the court."

During the arguments, South Africa's overcrowded prison system was effectively put on trial, with the defence claiming that Mr Pistorius's disabilities would make him particularly vulnerable in prison.

Mr Pistorius was born without fibula bones in his legs but overcame his disabilities to become a global star. Most notably, he reached the semi-finals of the 400 metres at the London Olympics after fighting for his right to run against able-bodied athletes, while also helping bring unprecedented attention to the Paralympics.

But less than a year later, he made international headlines for all the wrong reasons when police where called to his home in a wealthy suburb of Pretoria in the early hours of February 14 2013.

They discovered that Mr Pistorius had killed Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, by firing the 9mm pistol he kept by his bed four times through the locked toilet door of an en-suite bedroom.

In his defence, Mr Pistorius has insisted that the killing was a terrible accident after he mistakenly thought an intruder had entered his house through a bathroom window.

In her judgement last month, Judge Masipa criticised Mr Pistorius as a poor and evasive witness. But in finding him not guilty of murder, she decided that he genuinely believed that someone had broken into the house at the time of the shooting and posed a risk to him and Steenkamp.

The judgement sparked a swirl of controversy in South Africa, with some legal experts and commentators questioning her decision to acquit Mr Pistorius of murder.

There has also been speculation that either the defence or prosecution could appeal, depending on the sentencing.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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