Pistorius trial: Defence to begin sentencing arguments

The defence will begin arguments for why Pistorius shouldn’t spend time in jail for his girlfriend’s death

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius reacts as judgment is handed down at the High Court in Pretoria on Friday, 12 September 2014. Picture: Pool.

PRETORIA - Oscar Pistorius's legal team will start with arguments today in mitigation of sentence for the double amputee, who was found guilty of culpable homicide last month.

The athlete was acquitted of murder, with Judge Thokozile Masipa saying he did not intend to kill his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year, through a locked bathroom door at his luxury Pretoria home, saying he believed she was an intruder.

Defence lawyer Barry Roux is expected to kick off arguments today to show why the so-called Blade Runner should not spend time behind bars.

His culpable homicide conviction has a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, but Roux is expected to call several witnesses to show why this isn't appropriate.

Roux is expected to focus on Pistorius's disability and the fact that he was remorseful for his crime.

The defence attorney is also expected to start by presenting reasons why his client should receive a minimal sentence.

Pistorius's contribution to society, as well as his show of remorse, are expected to be among the factors his legal team will say are reasons to give him a light sentence.

Roux is expected to focus on the athlete's illustrious career as a disabled sportsman and his contribution to people affected by disabilities.

Pistorius's anxiety, heightened fear of crime and sense of vulnerability are also expected to re-emerge, as Roux indicated during closing arguments.

The state will then also call witnesses before Judge Thokozile Masipa hands down sentencing.

Meanwhile, Barry and June Steenkamp's legal representative says the pair have not struck a deal with Pistorius to secure the athlete a lesser sentence.

Reeva's parents were not happy with the athlete's culpable homicide conviction last month.

Advocate Dup de Bruyn says neither Barry nor June will be testifying during proceedings this week.

However, he did not rule out the possibility of other family members being called to the stand.

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

Pistorius started his evidence during the trial with an apology to his Reeva's parents, a show of a remorse Roux is likely to highlight.

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