Pistorius trial: Sentencing proceedings to start today

The Paralympian faces a suspended sentence, correctional supervision or jail time.

Oscar Pistorius leave the High Court in Pretoria on 11 September 2014. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - Oscar Pistorius could face a suspended sentence, correctional supervision or jail time, as sentencing proceedings in his murder case begin in Pretoria today.

The Paralympic superstar was convicted of culpable homicide last month for killing his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius insists he mistook her for an intruder.

Arguments in mitigation and aggravation of sentence get underway in the High Court this morning.

Legal experts are divided on whether Judge Thokozile Masipa will sentence the athlete to jail time, if he will receive a suspended sentence or even correctional supervision.

University of the Witwatersrand law professor James Grant says Masipa could find the shooting was a tragedy and that Pistorius has suffered enough.

Or she could decide to send a strong message

"She might take the view that although this is a human tragedy, we still need to send a very strong message to society, particularly to gun owners and men."

The maximum sentence he could receive is fifteen years in prison, although many legal experts believe that to be unlikely.

Meanwhile, medical experts, parole officials, relatives and friends of Pistorius and Steenkamp could potentially feature in sentencing proceedings.

The blade runner's defence team could call expert witnesses, such as a parole officer or psychiatrist, to convince the court why he should not be sent to jail.

Grant explains, "I expect that they'll be calling on social workers, psychologists, anyone that they've called on to put together a report that they can present this evidence in mitigation."

With Steenkamp's parents ruling themselves out as potential witnesses, the prosecution will likely look to the model's friends.

It's possible her housemate, Gina Myers, could finally take the stand.

The state has prepared victim impact statements and will use these to argue Pistorius should do jail time.

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