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Oscar Pistorius Handed Six Year Sentence For Reeva Steenkamp Murder

Oscar Pistorius Handed Six Year Sentence For Reeva Steenkamp Murder
By John Balfe

Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in jail for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, less than the mandatory minimum sentence in South Africa for this crime.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said that "mitigating circumstances outweigh the aggravating circumstances" in relation to his crime and imposed what would be considered a lenient sentence, considering that the minimum sentence this charge carries is 15 years.

She said that the public perception of the events of Steenkamp's death is different to what actually happened and that Pistorius had expressed sorrow for his girlfriend's death and at one point, referred to his counsel describing him as a "broken man."

She said:

After initial adjustment, accused cooperated with prison authorities. He may be quick tempered but that does not mean he is violent.

The murder ruling came on the back of the former Paralympic Gold medal winner serving nine months of a manslaughter charge which was later upgraded by the state to murder after appeal.

Pistorious was initially found guilty of culpable homicide, a charge that was deemed too lenient by women's groups and others.

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Judge Masipa imposed the sentence after an emotionally charged trial which saw evidence from Steenkamp's father Barry, who said that the athlete must "pay for what he did."

The Pistorius defence claimed there would be "no purpose served" in sentencing Pistorius to a lengthy spell behind bars, stressing his disability and vulnerability.

Overcrowding in South African prisons mean that many of those in jails serve just one-sixth of their sentence, so it may end up that Pistorius serves less than today's sentence.

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