‘Masipa failed to justify deviation from longer sentence for Oscar’

Judge Thokozile Masipa

Judge Thokozile Masipa

Bloemfontein – Judge Thokozile Masipa failed to put forward substantial and compelling reasons why she deviated from a minimum sentence of 15 years when she sentenced Oscar Pistorius for Reeva Steenkamp’s murder, the Supreme Court of Appeal heard yesterday.

Prosecutor Andrea Johnson told the court that Judge Masipa erred in her judgment and in sentencing Pistorius to six years.

“The sentence should reflect the gravity of the crime,” she said.

The State is attempting to have the six-year jail sentence lengthened.

“The court regarded Pistorius’ belief that there was an intruder in the house as a mitigating factor,” Johnson said of the previous judgment.

She said this was a misdirection.

Johnson also felt that Pistorius did not show remorse for Steenkamp’s murder.

Justice Ronnie Bosielo challenged Johnson on her submission, saying Pistorius made several attempts to contact the Steenkamp family.

“He tried to apologise. How do you verbalise remorse? What more could he have done?” asked Bosielo.

Johnson said: “He failed to take the court into his confidence and say, ‘this is why I did it’ … There is no true, genuine, gut wrenching remorse.”

She said while Pistorius was sorry for murdering Steenkamp, he never gave reasons as to why he did it.

“He had ample time to bring this court into his confidence and say why he did it,” she said.

Meanwhile, the family of Reeva Steenkamp said yesterday morning that they believed the law will run its course with the appeal against Oscar Pistorius’ sentence.

The family was speaking shortly after arriving at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein where the State will argue that Pistorius’ six year jail term for murdering Reeva be increased.

Tanya Koen, speaking on behalf of Reeva’s emotional mother June said: “The family supports the State and the law must run its course — and what is happening this morning is part of that legal process.

“What the family is focusing on is to continue Reeva’s legacy, which is the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation.”

After giving the media a very short statement, Koen said the family had nothing further to say. — Sapa

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