Oscar Pistorious has draswn a five year imprisonment term for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The sentence was passed by Judge Thokozile Masipa, who spoke of the paraolympian’s “gross negligence” in his use of the gun that killed his girlfriend and she also sentenced Pistorius to three years suspended imprisonment for discharging a firearm in public. The second term will run concurrently with his sentence for culpable homicide.
Judge Masipa delivered the sentence after considering prosecution arguments for a tough sentence as well as the defence case for a more lenient punishment for Pistorius, including arguments from the defence about his fear of prison.
Pistorius, 27, killed Ms Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year, shooting her through a toilet door in his home. He testified that the shooting was an accident because he mistook his girlfriend for a nighttime intruder.
The sentence follows Pistorius’s defence Advocate Barry Roux told the court that the athlete would willingly give up all his firearms and firearm licences and conceded to being unfit to carry a firearm.
Masipa emphasised the balance in sentencing between an appropriate punishment that contributed positively to society’s trust in the justice system but which did not “break the accused”.
“There is a delicate balance between the crime, the criminal and the interests of society,” she said.
The Guardian reported that Pistorius’s uncle, Arnold Pistorius, indicated that the family would not be appealing.
Pistorius is likely to serve his sentence at the Kgosi Mampuru II prison in Pretoria.
Judge Masipa rejected a suggested sentence of house arrest and community service for Pistorius.
“The sentence suggested by Mrs Vergeer and Mr Maringa would not be appropriate,” Masipa read while sentencing Pistorius for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp.
A suspended sentence imposed on Pistorius for shooting Steenkamp would not be appropriate, Masipa said.
“The present case is so serious that a suspended sentence would not be appropriate in my view,” she said. “I am of the view that a non custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community on the other hand a long sentence would not be appropriate as it would lack mercy.”
She said a long prison sentence would “break” Pistorius but a suspended sentence could mean that society lose faith in society.