Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years in prison for culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp

Joe Hall
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Pistorius arrives for sentencing this morning (Source: Getty)
Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in prison for culpable homicide, and has also been handed a three-year suspended sentence for firearm misuse.
According to his legal counsel, Pistorius may only serve 10 months in jail before spending the rest of his sentence under house arrest, although this has been disputed by the prosecution.
The suspended sentence for firearm misuse will run for five years in concurrence with the prison sentence.
The former Olympian was found guilty of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by a South African court last month.
Neither Pistorius nor the Steenkamp family made any visible reaction, when the sentencing was announced this morning. Judge Masipa said a non-custodial sentence for the paraplegic athlete would “send the wrong message to the community”, however a long prison sentence would “lack mercy”.
The decision came after the sixth day of a sentencing hearing, in which the state argued Pistorius should serve a custodial sentence of at least 10 years.
However, the defence argued Pistorius would not receive the required medical care for his disability in prison.
In summing up the evidence, Masipa poured scorn on these claims made by social worker Annette Vergeer that Pistorius’ disability meant a correctional facility would be more appropriate.
She said: “I found her evidence perfunctory and unhelpful”, and claimed a non-custodial sentence “would not be appropriate.”
In contrast, Masipa agreed with the evidence of Zach Modise, the acting national head of correctional services, who argued the prison system could deal with the demands of Pistorius’ disabilities. She said: “I have no hesitation in accepting his evidence as true and reliable.
“Mr. Modise showed this court there is a medical team whose job it is to attend to inmates in need of medical attention.”
This was an opinion also put forward by South African president Jacob Zuma who, in his first public comments on the case, argued the disability was not relevant as South Africa already has "people who are disabled who are in prison.”

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