Nel: Pistorius must be used as example to society

The state prosecutor has finished his sentencing argument in the Oscar Pistorius case.

Oscar Pistorius arrives at the High Court in Pretoria ahead of his sentencing on 17 October 2014. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

PRETORIA - State prosecutor Gerrie Nel says the High Court in Pretoria owes it to society to do what it can to prevent a repeat of what happened to the family of Reeva Steenkamp.

Nel has been presenting his closing argument in the trial of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, who was last month convicted of culpable homicide.

Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year, saying he believed she was an intruder.

Earlier the athlete's advocate Barry Roux said Pistorius had become the victim during his trial and would suffer for the rest of his life.

"It is that permanent excruciating pain is that it's you that caused the death of a loved one. It is you. That will never go away. Whatever punishment… lifelong, 15 years, 10 years, correctional supervision… it can never be equated to that pain."

But Nel hit back, saying the blade runner must be used as an example to society.

"Society would sit back and say, 'what will happen if I walk in my house, I take a gun and I fire four shots through a door into a little cubicle, well knowing that there's a person inside and kill the [person]'. What will the court do with a person like that? That is what society is asking."

Nel has argued that Pistorius was negligent, acted hastily and with excessive force.

He says there are several aspects of this case that do not make sense and a normal reasonable man would have asked his partner if she had heard a noise.

If the athlete had done that, Steenkamp would be alive.

Nel has also criticised how the defence had painted the athlete as the victim in this trial, saying Pistorius had blamed the state, how he was prosecuted and the media.

He even went as far as saying he could have been making millions of rand and expected the court to sympathise with him.

Nel also believes that the settlement money between him and the Steenkamps was only finalised after judgment, in an attempt to influence sentencing.

Although sentencing will take place on Tuesday next week, Nel has already told the court the state wants nothing less than a 10 year sentence handed down to the athlete.

Nel says Steenkamp's family deserve justice and their calls for punishment cannot go unanswered.

"In the softly spoken words of Kim Martin imploring the court to hand down a sentence of imprisonment to make the accused pay for what he has done has trounced any other noise."

He also says correctional services has demonstrated Pistorius will be adequately provided for in prison.

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Follow the court proceedings live on EWN's Oscar Pistorius trial blog.