It was ruled that Oscar Pistorius will be sentenced in June for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp, by a court in South Africa and the athlete went to appeal the decision.
The former Paralympian’s culpable homicide conviction – and its five-year prison sentence – was overturned by the supreme court in December 2015, when appeal judges instead found him guilty of murder.
Pistorius was in court in Pretoria as Judge Aubrey Ledwaba, who presided over an earlier bail hearing, told him he would face a fresh sentencing hearing from 13-17 June.
Pistorius spoke only to confirm that he understood the judge’s decision.
The South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, convicted of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp is a ‘broken man who shouldn’t be jailed’, a psychologist has told the court at his murder case trial going on today.
The 29 year old athlete faces a minimum 15-year sentence in a case that has prompted a fierce debate in South Africa, a country beset by high levels of violent crime. Some rights groups say the ‘white’ athlete has received preferential treatment and would have been punished severely if he were black.
Pistorius had always denied intentionally killing Steenkamp, his girlfriend, in his Pretoria home in the early hours of 14 February 2013. He insisted throughout his lengthy trial that he had mistaken her for an intruder, shooting four times through a locked toilet cubicle door, killing her instantly.
At his original trial, Judge Thokozile Masipa accepted this version of events, ruling that there was no evidence that Pistorius had wanted to kill Steenkamp, but that his actions had been negligent.
But the supreme court found that Masipa had wrongly applied the legal principle of dolus eventualis, which hinges on whether an accused should have foreseen the outcome of his actions. Pistorius “must have foreseen” that firing into the door could cause the death of whoever was behind it, the judges said.
Describing Steenkamp’s death as “a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions”, the judges said: “The accused ought to have been found guilty of murder.”
“Since the offence he has developed a serious psychiatric condition which has become worse over the past two years – major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
“One would describe him as broken. In my opinion his current condition warrants hospitalization,” Scholtz told the hearing that was attended by Steenkamp’s mother.
“Since 2013, he becomes traumatized when he hears the sound of gunfire,” Scholtz said. “He never wants to touch a firearm again.”