Paralympian Oscar Pistorious has been sentenced to five years imprisonment by Judge Thokozile Masipa for killing his then girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The Judgement took an extended amount of time as the Judge bizarrely elected to go over the case and the arguments for perhaps the fourth time during the trial. Pistorious managed to somehow escape a murder verdict for the incident on 14th February 2014, due in main to the poor prosecution arguments put across by the Police.
The Judge stated that it would be unreasonable to usurp the Department of Correctional Services’ recommendation that Pistorious be sentenced to a prison term. His disability was given as a reason by the defence for Pistorious escaping prison. This was thrown out and was frankly laughable.
The disgraced South African shot his model girlfriend in the middle of the night through a locked bathroom door. Many witnesses claimed to have heard screams in the night before the shots were fired, but Pistorious’ legal team were able to discredit many of the key testimonies given – or at least create some doubt to the credibility.
Strange Legal System
South Africa does not have a traditional legal system, a jury is not used to deliver a verdict. The Judge deliberates personally, and as such each verdict is very much subjective and open to debate.
The family of Reeva Steenkamp called for the disabled athlete to spend a long time behind bars for the terrible pain his callous actions caused them.
The case and the story Pistorious gave has sat very uncomfortably when considered that the disabled athlete had a history of paranoia, gun enthusiasm and jealousy. He was historically hot headed and had fired a gun in public numerous times before. Despite many gaps in the case which would have been laughed out of the court in the UK, Pistorious’ legal team will look at the verdict as being a surprising success. The fact that a murder charge was not accepted was hugely surprising to most, however the standard of the legal presentation by the prosecution left much to be desired.
Despite living in a secure, gated community, Pistorius claimed he had heard someone in the bathroom and had got up and shot because he thought the person was a burglar. The case for this was widely regarded as weak at best. Many would wonder exactly why a burglar would lock themselves in a bathroom of the house they were burgling. He also claimed he thought that his girlfriend was still lying in bed next to him. It seems a touch far-fetched admittedly, but the Judge was impressed enough with the story that she refused to charge him with murder.
The double amputee is now bankrupt and has no assets to speak of. This is perhaps punishment enough in some people’s eyes, as the accused is unlikely to find work or sympathy anywhere, any time in the future. He must now sit back and reflect on the moment of craziness which overtook his mind and resulted in a young and beautiful girl being taken from her family so young.