‘Broken’ Pistorius should not be jailed, court hears

June 13, 2016 3:22 pm
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South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius (C) arrives at Pretoria High Court to attend his sentencing hearing on June 13, 2016 © AFP Gianluigi Guercia/AFP
South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius (C) arrives at Pretoria High Court to attend his sentencing hearing on June 13, 2016
© AFP Gianluigi Guercia/AFP

, PRETORIA, South Africa, Jun 13 – Oscar Pistorius is a “broken” man who should be hospitalised rather than jailed, a South African court heard Monday, as the Paralympic athlete awaits sentencing for the murder of his girlfriend three years ago.

The double-amputee killed Reeva Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013, saying he mistook her for an intruder when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet.

Overview
  • The double-amputee killed Reeva Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, in the early hours of Valentine's Day in 2013, saying he mistook her for an intruder when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet.
  • Looking tired and sometimes resting his head in his hands, the 29-year-old "Blade Runner" attended the first day of the sentencing hearing at the High Court in Pretoria along with members of his family.
  • "He has developed a serious psychiatric condition which has become worse in the past two years," psychologist Jonathan Scholtz, called by the defence, told the court.

Looking tired and sometimes resting his head in his hands, the 29-year-old “Blade Runner” attended the first day of the sentencing hearing at the High Court in Pretoria along with members of his family.

“He has developed a serious psychiatric condition which has become worse in the past two years,” psychologist Jonathan Scholtz, called by the defence, told the court.

“Further imprisonment would have a detrimental effect on him as a person, considering his current clinical condition.”

Scholtz said that during recent interviews Pistorius had displayed signs of “post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder and depressive disorder”.

“Currently he is not able to testify. His condition is severe,” he said.

In March, Pistorius’s lawyers failed in their legal bid to reverse a Supreme Court of Appeal judgement that upgraded his original conviction from culpable homicide – the equivalent of manslaughter – to murder.

The original trial judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to pass a new sentence after hearing arguments from both prosecution and defence.

Scholtz added that Pistorius “has almost given up, his spirit seems broken” and he should be sent to hospital.

“(He is) a vulnerable, anxious man, extremely uncertain of himself without his prostheses.”

Pistorius faces a minimum 15-year jail term for murder, but his sentence could be reduced due to time already spent in prison and mitigating factors, including his disability.

Steenkamp’s parents were both in court on Monday, and her father Barry may take the witness stand to ask the court to impose a lengthy punishment.

If he does, it will be the first time one of Steenkamp’s parents has testified in the case.

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