Oscar Pistorius is seen under police escourt on the streets of Pretoria on 16 Otober 2014. It was during lunch break of day four of his sentencing week in the North Gauteng High Court. Picture: eNCA/ Lenyaro Sello.
* For live video streaming of the Oscar Pistorius Trial sentencing, go to www.enca.com/oscartrial
PRETORIA – Final arguments in mitigation and aggravation of sentence for Oscar Pistorius will be heard by the North Gauteng High Court on Friday.
After four days of witness testimony, the state has wrapped up its case with prosecutor Gerrie Nel indicating after the lunch break that he did not intend calling any more witnesses.
Earlier this week defence Advocate Barry Roux brought witnesses who testified that Pistorius, as a double amputee, would be vulnerable in prison and that a jail sentence was too harsh a punishment for him in light of the fact that he has been convicted of culpable homicide – a lesser sentence compared with murder, and which carries no minimum sentence.
Probation officer Annette Vergeer told the court Pistorius was “a broken man” and sending him to prison would serve only to break him further.
Two of the defence witnesses have recommended three years of home arrest with two days of community service per month being an adequate sentence as his punishment for shooting model Reeva Steenkamp.
This sentence would mean that Pistorius would be free to return to his athletics career.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel called on witnesses to testify that correctional supervision was not adequate in light of the seriousness of the crime he committed and the degree of negligence he showed in using a high calibre weapon loaded with specialist ammunition to fire four shots into a locked toilet door, knowing there was a person behind it.
State witness Kim Martin, Steenkamp’s cousin, described herself as “the voice of Reeva” as she described the model as a vibrant, caring, loving young woman who supported her parents, who were both doting and extremely proud.
Martin described how the family had been shattered by Steenkamp’s death and the intensity of the impact on her parents and asked the court to send Pistorius to jail.
Acting national commissioner of Correctional Services, Zach Modise, testified with regard to prison conditions in South Africa, explaining that as a disabled inmate, Pistorius – if sentenced to jail time – would be accommodated in the hospital section at Pretoria Central Prison where he would be protected as a vulnerable offender and where he would have access to all the medical and psychological treatment he needed.
Modise assured the court that Pistorius would be humanely treated and have complete access to his legal team and the courts should he have any complaints.
Judge Thokozile Masipa will on Friday hear the final arguments from both sides with Roux arguing for leniency, mercy and correctional supervision. Nel, on the other hand, will be asking for a prison sentence that will serve as retribution and satisfy the Steenkamps that justice has been done.
Final arguments will begin at 9.30am on Friday and, as promised by both Roux and Nel, will be concluded before the end of the court day.