On Friday, Oscar Pistorious cried again, like he has many times during his South African trial for killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The prosecution requested the minimum 10 year sentence for his charge of culpable homicide and Pistorious’ defense lawyer argued that the stress he’s endured since the shooting was punishment enough.
According to the New York Times, Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa is in the midst of deciding Pistorious’ punishment for killing his partner on Feb. 14, 2013. Barry Roux, Pistorious’ attorney has really been going for the emotional angle in an attempt to gain his client some leniency.
Roux, said, “he was on the rise; he was like an icon.”
Since then, Mr. Roux said, he had become “a person who’s down and out.”
“He’s not only broke; he’s broken,” he said. “There’s nothing left of this man.”
Roux said. “No punishment can be worse than the last 18 months.”
I mean, the stress sounds tough but Steenkamp is dead because Pistorious killed her. I’m pretty sure she got the worst end of this stick.
Still, some defense witnesses suggested that he just be put on house arrest along with some hearty community service because he’s an amputee. Apparently defense witnesses can suggest sentencing options in South Africa? Can you imagine that happening on Law and Order?
But Gerrie Nel, the prosecuting attorney, said, essentially, ‘Chill, Pistorious didn’t steal a couple of pieces of candy from a store — he killed somebody, guys.’
The sentence “should not fail the parents,” he said, and Ms. Steenkamp “did nothing to contribute to her own death.”
“She is totally innocent,” Mr. Nel added. “The only suitable sentence is long-term incarceration.”
Nel also added that Pistorious’ disability has nothing to do with this homocide trial and to even use his status as a bargaining chip is gross. In South Africa, culpable homocide can be punished on a broad scale, from pithy community service to over a decade behind bars, depending on the judge's decision.
After hearing both sides, Judge Masipa adjourned proceedings until next Tuesday, when she will sentence the Olympian. But thanks to the long history of racial intolerance, apartheid and general foolishness, Masipa's decision will be more than just Pistorious' fate: it will signal how South Africa delivers justice to the white and rich.
Image via AP