Tuesday 16 January 2018

Emotional Pistorius removes his artifical legs to walk around court

Pistorius walks in court at his sentencing hearing for the murder of girlfriend Reeva
Steenkamp Picture: AFP/Getty
Pistorius walks in court at his sentencing hearing for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp Picture: AFP/Getty

Oscar Pistorius removed his prosthetic legs and walked around the front of a South African court in a faded Nike T-shirt as his lawyer pleaded for a reduced sentence for murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The scene at the High Court in Pretoria took place during final arguments over the sentence for the murder conviction of the Paralympic gold medalist.

While defense attorney Barry Roux urged the court to impose of sentence of correctional supervision, prosecutor Gerrie Nel called for a minimum of 15 years. Judge Thokozile Masipa is due to deliver her ruling on July 6.

Mr Roux argued that Pistorius (29), a double amputee, felt anxious and vulnerable, and was "guilty of being irrational" when he fired four hollow-point bullets through his toilet door, thinking Steenkamp was an intruder.


Mr Nel said the fact that Pistorius armed himself with the intention for shooting whomever was in the bathroom suggested he meant to the kill the person.

Citing legislation that stipulates a minimum of 15 years for murder, Mr Nel said correctional supervision advocated by Mr Roux "is not even close to the benchmark".

"It's the duty of this court," he said, referring to the minimum sentence.

Judge Masipa originally convicted Pistorius of manslaughter for killing Ms Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013. In December, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that he was guilty of murder, citing "errors of law" in the first verdict.

Known as the Blade Runner because of his J-shaped prosthetic blades, Pistorius was granted 10,000-rand (€582) bail and ordered to remain under house arrest after the Supreme Court imposed the murder conviction on December 3.

He's been serving part of his previous five-year sentence for culpable homicide at his uncle's home.

"The accused has paid from the minute he shot, and will pay for the rest of his life," Mr Roux said.

"He has paid with his future, he has paid emotionally, he has paid with not being able to live with his chosen loved one, he has paid financially. He is a broken man.

"He is judged and vilified. He is paying constantly."

While Pistorius said he shot Ms Steenkamp in the belief she was an intruder, the Supreme Court decided that he must have known the bullets would have killed whomever was behind the door.


The Constitutional Court ruled on March 3 that Pistorius couldn't appeal the murder conviction.

Since the shooting, Pistorius lost sponsorship deals with companies including Nike Inc., Luxottica Group Spas and Oakley.

Pistorius won six Paralympic gold medals and was the first double-amputee runner to compete at the Olympic Games. He was born without fibula in both legs, which were amputated when he was 11 months old.

Earlier, Ms Steenkamp's cousin Kim Martin testified that Steenkamp's family and friends were still seeking an explanation of what happened.

"We just wanted the truth. That's what we wanted. We heard so many versions from Oscar," Ms Martin said. "But we never heard an apology. We never heard him simply say 'sorry for shooting and killing Reeva that night."'

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