Oscar Pistorius Returns To Court As Sentencing Commences

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius on Monday returned to the Pretoria High Court for a sentencing trial that will decide whether he will serve a jail time for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, or walks out of the courtroom a free man.

Pistorius was found guilty in September of the culpable homicide of Steenkamp but he was cleared of murder.

After a six-month on-off trial that fascinated South Africa and millions all over the world who admired Pistorius as a symbol of triumph over physical difficulty, opinions are, however, divided on the possible outcome of the trial.

Pistorius faces up to 15 years in jail, although Judge Thokozile Masipa may suspend the sentence or impose a fine.

The judge cleared Pistorius of the more serious charge of murder, saying prosecutors were unable to prove the athlete’s intent to kill when he fired four 9mm rounds through the door of a toilet cubicle in what he said was a mistaken belief an intruder was hiding behind it.



    Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, was hit three times by the bullets from Pistorius’ gun at his home in the capital, Pretoria.

    A murder conviction would have almost certainly carried a jail sentence. Culpable homicide, South Africa’s equivalent of manslaughter, can be punished by anything from 15 years in jail to a suspended sentence or community service.

    At the sentencing hearing, Judge Masipa is expected to hear arguments from prosecution and defense counsels as well as psychological and probation experts, possibly for as long as a day each,before announcing her judgment.

    The decision by the 66-year-old judge, to absolve Pistorius of murder pulled criticism from many legal experts and the public in a country infamous for violence, particularly against women.

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