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Pistorius to be sentenced for murder in S.Africa court

South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius was freed from prison last October after serving one year of a five-year term for culpable homicide, the equivalent of manslaughter/AFP

South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius was freed from prison last October after serving one year of a five-year term for culpable homicide, the equivalent of manslaughter/AFP

PRETORIA, South Africa, Jul 6 – Disgraced Paralympian Oscar Pistorius will learn Wednesday how long he will spend in jail when a judge sentences him for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp three years ago.

Pistorius was freed from prison in the South African capital Pretoria last October after serving one year of a five-year term for culpable homicide – the equivalent of manslaughter.

But an appeals court upgraded the conviction to murder, which has a mandatory sentence of 15 years.

Due to his time already spent in jail and mitigating factors such as his disability, he could be given a lesser term.

Pistorius, 29, shot Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013, claiming he mistook her for a burglar when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet.

“It is very difficult to predict what sentence it is that will be imposed… This a fairly unique situation,” Stephan Terblanche, a law professor at the University of South Africa, told AFP.

Legal expert Llewellyn Curlewis, chair of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces, told AFP that he expected a sentence of between 11 and 14 years.

Wednesday’s sentencing may also not be the end of the saga, as Pistorius or the state could launch a final round of appeals against the length of the prison term.

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