Oscar Pistorius sentencing commences

Pistorius will today be sentenced for shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.

FILE: Oscar Pistorius is pictured standing in the dock. Picture: Pool.

PRETORIA - Oscar Pistorius has arrived at the High Court in Pretoria, where he will be sentenced for the 2013 Valentine's Day shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The athlete was found guilty of culpable homicide last month.

Steenkamp was shot through a locked bathroom door at Pistorius's luxury Pretoria East home on 14 February last year.

He has throughout the trial maintained he thought Reeva was an intruder.

Judge Thokozile Masipa will hand down his sentence this morning.

After seven months, the Oscar Pistorius trial will finally come to an end when the blade runner is sentenced today, if there is no appeal.

While the athlete's legal team is calling for correctional supervision and community service as punishment for the crime, the state wants the Paralympian to pay the price for killing Steenkamp.

Judge Masipa will have to weigh up the defence's argument, Pistorius's disability and whether he is a suitable candidate for prison.

She will also have to consider his contribution to society and whether letting him stay out of jail will allow him to still contribute to society.

Added to this will be defence advocate Barry Roux's appeal that the judge hand down a sentence in line with Ubuntu and restorative justice.

Masipa will weigh all that against the immense demand from society that Pistorius be punished for what he has done and to keep in mind the degree of negligence on his part.

She will also have to consider the emotional appeal from the Steenkamp family, that the athlete be incarcerated.

Front of mind will be the argument from state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, that Pistorius fought his entire life to be treated as able bodied and now cannot argue he should stay out of jail because he is disabled.

Masipa has a difficult decision to make.

At the same time, criminal law expert Tyrone Maseko says it's difficult to predict what the judge decision will be.

But he believes correctional supervision is highly unlikely.

"It could be anything really, I don't expect it to be anything beyond 10 years, although the maximum sentence for culpable homicide is 15 years, it really is difficult to say."


Meanwhile in Reeva's home town, Tyrone McLachlan, who has been a race horse trainer with the model's father Barry Steenkamp, says while Pistorius should never have been acquitted of murder, he is hoping for the harshest possible sentence.

"I really hope he gets the maximum sentence. Believe me, if I had my way, 25 years would be too little for him."

He says should Judge Masipa side with the defence and place the blade runner under correctional supervision, South Africa's judiciary would be the laughing stock of the world.

McLachlan says that while the focus today will be on Pistorius, the Steenkamp family's pain must not be forgotten.

Click here for more on Oscar Pistorius.

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

Click here to view the state's closing argument.

Click here to view the defence's closing argument.