Oscar Pistorius Sentencing – Day of reckoning finally arrives
Written by: Nhlanhla Sehume
The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius has grabbed the world’s attention since news first broke that the global sports icon shot and killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius’s moment of reckoning is finally here, following a lengthy trial, as sentencing is expected to be carried out.
All eyes will turn to North Gauteng High Court, when Judge Thokozile announces her decision whether or not to serve a custodial sentence on the athlete.
Some legal experts believe Masipa is under pressure to be redeemed after her judgement caused a public outcry.
She found Pistorius not guilty of his girlfriends murder.
Instead she found him guilty of culpable homicide and the reckless and negligent firing of a gun at a public place.
Many members of the public expressed dissatisfaction – however it is not up to the public to decide what the appropriate sentence is.
Judge Masipa will use her own discretion as she decides on an appropriate sentence.
The state has called for the athlete to face a minimum 10 year prison term, while the defence wants the double amputee athlete kept under three years house arrest and to undergo 16 hours of community service every month.
The defence believes South African prisons would break the athlete and one of its witnesses led evidence that the country’s jails are crowded, ruled by gangs and not capable to accommodate the needs of disabled people.
However the state profusely denied these claims and called the Acting Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services, Zach Modise to come to the court and help rectify these allegations.
Modise explained a glowing picture of South Africa’s prisons – saying the country’s prisons are the ‘best in the Africa’ and have many facilities including gyms.
He was also forced to concede that Pistorius would likely be placed in the hospital wing of the Kgosi Mampuru II Prison in Pretoria should he be sentenced to a custodial sentence.
This highly publicised trial has certainly gripped the world’s attention with every moment broadcast live in the media for all to hear and see.
Its impact has been far reaching and touched on other social issues that affect South African households – these include issues over violence against women and issues over gun control.
No matter the final outcome – this will be a story that will live beyond media reports and the history books – It is a story of a tragic end to what many saw as a fairytale relationship.
It is a story that will live on most South Africans’ minds and people beyond our borders – it will permeate and remind us all of the amazing fall from grace of a true sporting icon.