Oscar Pistorius removed his prostheses and hobbled on his stumps in front of a judge in a South African courtroom on Wednesday.
The demonstration formed part of his defense team’s attempt to show that the double-amputee Olympic athlete, convicted of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, is a vulnerable man who deserves leniency when he is sentenced.
Judge Thokozile Masipa will announce Pistorius’ sentence on 6 July, she said at the end of three days of testimony and arguments in Pistorius’ sentencing hearing.
That sentencing is also expected to conclude the three-year legal saga of Pistorius, the once-acclaimed athlete and inspiration to many before he shot his girlfriend in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day 2013.
The defense’s argument is that Pistorius, a multiple Paralympic medallist and a history-making amputee athlete who ran at the 2012 Olympics, was a scared disabled man when he shot Steenkamp. Pistorius was on his stumps when he fired the fatal shots.
Chief prosecutor Nel said Pistorius should get the minimum sentence of 15 years, arguing that he had not shown genuine remorse as well as noting the seriousness of the crime and the devastating impact on Steenkamp’s family.
|Oscar Pistorius Removes Prostheses, Walks on Stumps to Hearing|
“He intended to shoot someone in the bathroom. He did,” Nel said.
Pistorius is currently under house arrest after an appeals court overturned an initial manslaughter conviction against him and changed that to murder. He served one year in prison for manslaughter.
Pistorius said he thought he was shooting at an intruder, but prosecutors charged he intentionally killed his girlfriend after a fight.
Masipa, who initially acquitted Pistorius of murder at his trial in 2014, must now re-sentence him.
“I don’t want to overplay disability,” Roux said ahead of the demonstration, “but the time has come that we must just look (at Pistorius) with different eyes.”
While prosecutors are seeking at least 15 years in jail, Pistorius’ defense argued that he should be spared any more prison time and be allowed to do community work with children.
Nel also addressed the defense argument that Pistorius is a “broken man” because of the grief from killing Steenkamp and the trauma that followed as the world focused on his case. Nel referred to the emotional testimony a day earlier of Barry Steenkamp, father of the victim.
“If you ever want to talk about a broken man, we saw a broken man there,” Nel said of Barry Steenkamp. (With agency inputs.)