Judge seeks ‘balance’ in Pistorius sentence

October 21, 2014 8:01 am
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Pistorius's fate lies in the hands of Judge Thokozile Masipa, who will announce her decision after the prosecution called for 10 years in jail and the defence pleaded for house arrest and community service/AFP
Pistorius’s fate lies in the hands of Judge Thokozile Masipa, who will announce her decision after the prosecution called for 10 years in jail and the defence pleaded for house arrest and community service/AFP

, PRETORIA, South Africa, Oct 21 – South African Judge Thokozile Masipa on Tuesday began the sentencing of Oscar Pistorius for killing his girlfriend, stating she wanted to find a balance between retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation.

“Sentencing is about achieving the right balance,” said Masipa, who could give Pistorius anything from a fine to 15 years in jail. “Sentencing is not a perfect exercise.”

Pistorius sat stone-still in the dock, occasionally clenching his jaw as the judge began pronouncing his fate.

Looking grim and wearing a dark suit and tie, Pistorius earlier made his way through a throng of media and onlookers to hear his punishment after being found guilty last month of culpable homicide.

The double amputee sprinter was acquitted of the more serious charge of murder over Reeva Steenkamp’s death.

The prosecution has called for 10 years in jail. The defence pleaded for house arrest and community service.

Pistorius testified that he shot Steenkamp, a 29-year-old law graduate and model, four times through a locked bathroom door at his upmarket Pretoria home after he mistakenly believed she was an intruder. READ: Pistorius prosecution calls for 10 year jail term

His lawyers, arguing that Pistorius would be more vulnerable than most in prison because of his disability, have called for three years of “correctional supervision”, the equivalent of house arrest for the 27-year-old.

They also suggested that Pistorius could carry out 16 hours of community service a month cleaning a Pretoria museum.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said such a sentence would be “shockingly inappropriate” and could cause South Africans to lose faith in their legal system.

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