South African govt to seek longer sentence for Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius in court

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority said on Friday that it will seek a harsher prison sentence for jailed Paralympic Oscar Pistorius.

The authority argued that the six-year term for murder was too lenient.

In 2015, Pistorius was found guilty of murdering his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home on Valentine’s Day two years before, in a case that gripped the world.

The South African double-amputee sprinter, known as the “Blade Runner” for his futuristic prosthetics, maintains he believed Steenkamp to be an intruder when he shot her through the bathroom door.

Steenkamp’s family have previously expressed disappointment at the six-year-sentence but the family’s lawyer, Tania Koen, told dpa on the eve of the trial that they trusted in the justice system.

The sentence “should send the proper message to society,” Koen said.

“Ultimately there must be justice for Reeva.”

It is the second time the prosecution is appealing.

Pistorius, now 30, was originally found guilty of culpable homicide, but this was changed to murder on appeal.

The authority spokesperson told dpa in September that they had launched the appeal because the minimum sentence for murder is 15 years.

“We believe that the trial judge was too lenient in imposing a six year sentence,” the spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said.

Pistorius, whose lower legs were amputated because of a congenital defect, soared to international fame after becoming the first amputee to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games.

He is not expected to appear at Friday’s hearing. (dpa/NAN)

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