South African prosecutors want to extend Pistorius sentence

Oscar Pistorius

South African prosecutors want to extend Pistorius sentence

Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius leaves court after appearing for the 2013 killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Siphiwe Sibeko

REUTERS

Prosecutors want the sentence to be increased from six to 15 years.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) will hear on November 3 the State’s appeal against Oscar Pistorius’ six-year sentence for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) claims that a six-year sentence is unsuitable for a crime of this nature.

State prosecutors, led by advocate Gerrie Nel, say Pistorius should have received the prescribed minimum of 15 years of prison time.

The 29-year-old runner shot Steenkamp through a bathroom door at his home in Pretoria on Valentine’s Day 2013. Pistorius claims he confounded his girlfriend for a trespasser.

Sentence augmented

This will be second time the State appeals Pistorius’ case.

The former track sprinter was initially convicted to a five-year sentence for manslaughter. However, after an appeal in December 2015, he was sentenced with a murder charge.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, who presided Pistorius resentencing hearing, decided that a six-year sentence would be adequate.

'The presiding officer has the discretion to deviate from the minimum prescribed sentence when compelling and substantial circumstances exist,” said NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku. 'But... with this matter, the presiding officer exercised that discretion in a very lenient manner.'

According to Women’s rights groups in South Africa, the athlete received preferential treatment compared to those without his wealth and celebrity status.

Back in August 2016, Judge Masipa dismissed a request of appeal by the State Prosecutors, which led Gerrie Nel to take the case to the SCA.

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