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Reeva Steenkamp Murder: Oscar Pistorius Returns to South African Court for Sentence

The double amputee Olympian, Oscar Pistorius, who was convicted of culpable homicide in Reeva Steenkamp’s murder case, will return to court in Pretoria for sentence on Monday. Pistorius is also known as ‘Blade Runner.’

After a trial that lasted six months, Judge Thokozile Masipa convicted Pistorius of culpable homicide or manslaughter and he was cleared of the premeditated murder of his girlfriend of four months Reeva Steenkamp.

The case will reopen on Monday and will call for submissions from both legal teams before retiring to decide what sentence to impose.

As per Northern provinces president of the Law Society of South Africa, Dr Llewelyn Curlewis, it is a process that could take weeks and will probably result in a non-custodial sentence.

He said that the defence will have the opportunity to provide information on mitigating circumstances first. “This could be a written submission, or defence advocate Barry Roux could call witnesses, including Oscar Pistorius. Roux will have the chance to cross-examine,” he said.

When the defence closes its case it will be the state’s turn, he added, “Prosecutor Gerrie Nel will present aggravating circumstances and may call witnesses, including family members of the deceased.” He said the state will be able to cross examine.

According to reports, Curlewis said that this would take several days and his own opinion is that the judge would then adjourn for one, two or three weeks to make her decision, taking into account the submissions and looking at comparable cases of culpable homicide.

The judge, having two options, is expected to impose direct imprisonment of up to 15 years, or non-custodial correctional supervision.

However, Curlewis said that though any custodial sentence of less than eight years would be seen as very lenient, in this case, one have to take into account that Pistorius is a first offender with no other offences or sanctions on his record.

Reminding that culpable homicide is a negligent offence and not an intentional offence, Curlewis said that it could be argued that Pistorius is no threat to society on the basis of the facts presented in the case.

He also mentioned the possibility of offering the option of paying a penalty fine to get out of jail, which Curlewis said as, “something Pistorius and his family are more than capable of doing.”

However, the most awaited judgement will decide the future of the double amputee Olympian, whether he will be jailed or will compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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