Oscar Pistorius is a 'broken man' and shouldn't be locked up, court hears
KILLER: Suggestion that athlete should do community service and face only house arrest is branded 'shockingly inappropriate'
By Erin Conway-Smith in Pretoria
– 14 October 2014 06:00 AM
Oscar Pistorius is a broken man and he should be put under house arrest and given community service, his sentencing hearing has been told.
Joel Maringa, a correctional services officer who appeared as a witness for the defence, said Pistorius should serve three years of house arrest and perform two eight-hour shifts of community service per month. Mr Maringa told the court that this sentence would allow Pistorius to return to his athletic training. "What we are doing is to reform him to make a suitable, responsible citizen," he said.
Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, last month for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.
The 27-year-old athlete fired four times through a toilet cubicle door at his Pretoria home, killing Steenkamp in the early hours of the morning. He was found not guilty of murder.
Mr Maringa also recommended Pistorius attend programmes on handling negative emotions, firearms control and trauma counselling, and that he be banned from owning firearms and abstain from the use of alcohol and drugs.
Gerrie Nel, the prosecutor, called Mr Maringa's recommendation "shockingly inappropriate".
Friends and family of Ms Steenkamp shook their heads during the testimony of Mr Maringa, a social worker with the department of correctional services, but declined to comment.
Mr Nel, in his cross-examination of Mr Maringa, said: "You have not applied your mind to the seriousness of the crime at all."
Pistorius's lawyers have said they will call four witnesses to argue for mitigation of sentence, while the prosecution is expected to call two witnesses in their arguments to convince Judge Thokozile Masipa to hand down a tough sentence.
Pistorius's manager Peet van Zyl, whose testimony will resume today, detailed the athlete's work with charities and spoke at length about his good deeds.
Earlier, Pistorius's psychologist, Dr Lore Hartzenberg, testified that the athlete had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dr Hartzenberg said: "We are left with a broken man who has lost everything."
Mr Nel questioned the portrayal of Pistorius as a grieving man, citing reports he had started a new relationship and had been in an altercation in a Johannesburg nightclub.
Judge Masipa is expected to hand down a sentence this week ranging from a suspended jail sentence and a fine to 15 years in prison.
In her judgment, she said Pistorius had acted "negligently", but accepted he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder.