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Friday 15 December 2017

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'

Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius attends his sentencing hearing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Pistorius returned to court on Monday to find out whether he will serve a long stretch behind bars for the negligent killing of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, or walk out a free man. REUTERS/Marco Longari/Pool
Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius attends his sentencing hearing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Pistorius returned to court on Monday to find out whether he will serve a long stretch behind bars for the negligent killing of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, or walk out a free man. REUTERS/Marco Longari/Pool
Oscar Pistorius is greeted by a supporter after the first day of his sentencing hearing. REUTERS/Marco Longari/Pool
Oscar Pistorius arrived at the Pretoria High Court on Monday for a sentencing hearing that will determine whether he serves jail time for the negligent killing of his girlfriend, or walks out a free man. REUTERS/Werner Beukes/Pool
Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius uses his phone as he leaves the first day of his sentencing. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
June Steenkamp, mother of Reeva Steenkamp, reacts ahead of the sentencing hearing for Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius. REUTERS/Werner Beukes/Pool
Oscar Pistorius, right, talks with one of his defense lawyers on his arrival in court Monday to face sentencing for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius was found guilty last month on a culpable homicide charge. The defense have started arguing in mitigation of sentence. AP Photo/Marco Longari. Pool
Oscar Pistorius attends his sentencing hearing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. REUTERS/Pool
Barry Steenkamp, father of Reeva Steenkamp, arrives for the Oscar Pistorius trial. Pistorius faces sentencing this week in a South African court after being convicted of culpable homicide for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The sentencing of the double-amputee athlete is expected to involve several days of legal argument and testimony during which Judge Thokozile Masipa will assess what kind of penalty Pistorius deserves for shooting Steenkamp through a closed toilet door in his house. AP Photo/Themba Hadebe
Defence lawyer Barry Roux speaks during the first day of the sentencing hearing for Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. REUTERS/Werner Beukes/Pool

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.

Shots

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.

BOOK PLAN: Oscar Pistorius plans to write about the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp, according to his manager. AP Photo/City Press, Lucky Nxumalo
BOOK PLAN: Oscar Pistorius plans to write about the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp, according to his manager. AP Photo/City Press, Lucky Nxumalo
Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp pose for a picture in Johannesburg...Oscar Pistorius (R) and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp pose for a picture in Johannesburg, February 7, 2013. South African "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee who became one of the biggest names in world athletics, was charged on February 14, with shooting dead his girlfriend at his home in Pretoria. Picture taken February 7, 2013. REUTERS/Thembani Makhubele (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: CRIME LAW SPORT ATHLETICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)...S
Reeva Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp
Family members of Reeva Steenkamp react as they listen to the verdict of Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius, at the High Court in Pretoria. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Oscar Pistorius, left, passes family members of the late Reeva Steenkamp on his arrival in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday. AP/Alon Skuy.
Barry, father of Reeva Steenkamp, is seen ahead of the verdict in the trial of Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius at the high court in Pretoria. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
June (L) and Barry Steenkamp, parents of Reeva Steenkamp listen to the judgement of Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. REUTERS/Phill Magakoe
June Steenkamp, mother of Reeva Steenkamp, waits for the verdict in the trial of South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. REUTERS/Kim Ludbrook/Pool (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT ATHLETICS CRIME LAW)
June and Barry Steenkamp during the trial in the Pretoria High Court

Stress

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.

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