The saga of the Oscar Pistorius case continues: in the middle of Wednesday’s resentencing hearing on charges that he murdered girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the runner’s defense attorneys directed him in court to remove his prosthetic legs. Pistorius then walked through the courtroom on his residual limbs.
Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times through a bathroom door in their home in 2013; he has maintained that it was dark, he was frightened, and he believed there was an intruder in the home. His original, lesser conviction of culpable homicide was overturned in December. He’s now being re-sentenced for murder, which in South Africa carries a minimum sentence of 15 years.
But Pistorius’ team is aiming for a deviation from the minimum sentence, arguing that community service would be more appropriate, and that Pistorius was acting in what he believed to be self-defense.
To that end, defense attorney Barry Roux asked Pistorius to remove his prostheses and stand in front of the judge. From Business Day Live, a South African paper:
“I want the accused to stand there so that we can have an idea of who this person is‚” said Roux as Pistorius moved from the dock to a position in front of Judge Thokozile Masipa.
“It is 3am in the morning. It is dark. He suffers from anxiety disorder. We understand his balance was severely compromised. This must all be seen in the context of his disability‚” Roux said.
“It does not mean that because he is vulnerable he must do whatever he likes.
“Let us understand when you combine these factors. It is not a man who is running with two healthy legs who wants to protect his girlfriend.”
In raw Associated Press video of the hearing, Pistorius can be seen making his way slowly to stand before the judge, wobbling slightly until an older woman takes his arm to help with his balance.
After the demonstration, the AP reports, Pistorius return to the bench and sat alone with his head bowed.
Pistorius in court. Photo via AP