South African court to re-examine Oscar Pistorius’ prison sentence

A South African court reserved judgement on Friday after state prosecutors argued track star Oscar Pistorius' sentence for the 2013 murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp should be lengthened.

A South African court reserved judgement on Friday after state prosecutors argued track star Oscar Pistorius’ sentence for the 2013 murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp should be lengthened.

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal judges will re-examine Oscar Pistorius’ prison sentence, after prosecutors lobbied for a more severe punishment for the track star convicted of murder.

Members of the National Prosecuting Authority argued in the Bloemfontein, South Africa, court in favor of increasing his sentence from the six years he is currently serving. While the recommended sentence for the crime is 15 years, the judge in his trial conceded to Pistorius’ plea for leniency and awarded a lesser sentence in a “misdirected” effort, state prosecutor Andrea Johnson argued on Friday. Pistorius, a former Paralympic and Olympic track star, shot and killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. He argued in court that he mistook her for an intruder. Although he originally was convicted of manslaughter, the charge was upgraded to murder. He was convicted of murder by an appeals court which cited errors of law during his trial. The court gave him a sentence of six years, which he began in July 2016.

In Friday’s hearing, the judges asked Barry Roux, Pistorius’ defense attorney, why Pistorius did not warn the intruder of his intent to shoot. Roux said his client, a double amputee born without bones in his legs, had a fear of crimes against him as well as an anxiety disorder. Roux also said Pistorius suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder during the trial.

Johnson argued on Friday that Pistorius showed no remorse during his trial or admitted his actions were wrong. She said there were no compelling factors in the case justifying Judge Thokozile Masipa’s deviation from the recommended sentence.

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