Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius, the South African sprinter and Paralympic champion who came into spot light after winning at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics and at the 2012 Olympic games has been sentenced to six years imprisonment for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp today (July 6, 2016).
Judge Thokozile Masipa Masipa, while delivery her judgement said the mitigating factors such as being vulnerable, rehabilitation and remorse outweighed aggravating factors – which includes using a lethal weapon with high-grade ammunition and firing four shots knowing full well there was someone in the bathroom, without firing warning shots.
Pistorius, who was the first athlete to compete at the Paralympic games and Olympic games, where he competed in sprint events for below-knee amputees in Paralympic events, and in non-disabled sprint events, has been on trial after fatally shooting his girlfriend model Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013, who, according to him, he had mistaken for an intruder hiding in the bathroom.
He received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide and a concurrent three-year suspended prison sentence for a separate reckless endangerment conviction in 2014.
In November 2014, after obtaining permission to appeal the verdict, the prosecutors presented the case before the Supreme Court of Appeal, after which he was released and placed on house arrest and on December 3, 2015 the culpable homicide verdict was upturned by the Appeal Court and he was convicted of murder.
Oscar Pistorius appeared in court on June 13 to resume hearing on his murder conviction. He was then sentenced to six years imprisonment for murder on July 6, instead of a prescribed 15-year sentence for murder.
In a swift reaction, campaigners for women’s rights in South Africa expressed their utmost disappointment with the sentence. Jacqui Mofokeng of the African National Congress women’s league, was quoted as saying, “The judgment is an insult to women. It sends the wrong message”.
More reactions are expected as the day goes on.