Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oscar Pistorius Sentenced to 5 years in Prison.

Oscar Pistorius was taken away in a police van with barred windows
Tuesday to start serving a five-year prison sentence for killing
girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Delivering her sentence, Judge
Thokozile Masipa cited the "gross
negligence" the double-amputee
Olympic runner showed when he shot Steenkamp multiple times through a
toilet cubicle door in his home.

Pistorius, who had cried and retched during his trial, was
unemotional as he stood to hear his sentence. His prison term begins
immediately and he was led down a flight of stairs and toward holding
cells before
leaving the South African courthouse in the armored vehicle.

Pistorius could be released after 10 months in jail to serve the
remainder under house arrest, according to legal experts.
Steenkamp's parents were also in court to hear the sentence and
the dead model's mother, June, said justice had been done.

A close friend of Steenkamp, Gina Myers, said: "I really don't think
any of us will heal anytime soon ... there will always be questions."
Pistorius' uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said: "Oscar will embrace this
opportunity to pay back to society."
He appealed to reporters to give the family privacy after
what he called "20 months of relentless public trial."
Pistorius' uncle also criticized state prosecutors for pursuing a
premeditated charge against Pistorius, and said "they decided
to inflict as much collateral damage as they could."

Masipa said her sentence was a
balancing act between retribution
and clemency.
"I am of the view that a non- custodial sentence would send a wrong
message to the community," Masipa said after
summarizing parts of the case and explaining why she reached her decision.

"On the other hand,
a long sentence would not be appropriate either as it would
lack the element of mercy."
Masipa last month convicted Pistorius of culpable homicide,
but acquitted him of murder after he testified he mistook
Steenkamp for a nighttime intruder.

She asked Pistorius to
stand as she delivered the sentence Tuesday, and he faced her with his
hands clasped in
front of him. Pistorius was then led away by police, stopping briefly
to grip the hands of his uncle and other family members
as he headed to prison.

Pistorius' defense and the prosecution have 14 days to lodge any
appeal against the
judge's decision.
Prosecutors said they are considering whether to appeal
the sentence, where Pistorius, 27, could serve less than a year in
jail for killing his 29-year-old girlfriend.
Nathi Mncube, the prosecution spokesman, said his office was
disappointed in the culpable homicide conviction and had not yet
decided whether to appeal
the sentence.

"We have not made up our minds whether we're going to appeal it or
not," he said. He added that there was an "appetite" to appeal but
that prosecutors would
review their options.
"We are satisfied with the fact that he will be serving some time
in prison," Mncube said.

Masipa had a wide range of options available to her because South
Africa does not have a
minimum sentence for culpable homicide, which is comparable to
manslaughter. Pistorius faced up
to 15 years in jail, but could also have received a completely
suspended sentence or house arrest.

Marius du Toit, a legal analyst and criminal defense lawyer, said
Pistorius would have to serve one-sixth of his sentence in
prison — 10 months — before he could be eligible to be moved to house arrest.
"It's an appropriate sentence," du Toit said. He said a higher
sentence would have been impossible because "you cannot
elevate the sentence to murder."

Another analyst, law professor Kelly Phelps, said Judge Masipa
had done "a remarkable job at
balancing all of the competing interests that were weighing
down on her."
As Pistorius left in the police van, a raucous crowd gathered
around the vehicle, whistling, shouting and banging on the
caged windows.

Source: YahooNews
report by Christopher Torchia & Gerald Imray

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