Oscar Pistorius Sentence Verdict: Five Years Behind Bars
After a drawn-out 8 month trial, paralympian Oscar Pistorius has finally had the gavel banged on his case. For killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in an unprovoked murder, he has been sentenced for culpable homicide, which has resulted in five years behind bars. Judge Thokozile Masipa, who presided over the entire case did however suspend an additional three year sentence for a separate gun crime, meaning that Pistorius won’t have to serve it.
Just as most sentences (not just those involving celebrities) are not set in stone, neither is his. Pistorius’ defence team have said that he would be out of prison in 10 months, after which he would apply for house arrest. The National Prosecution Authority do not agree; stating that he will serve at least two years of his sentence in the slammer. Even though he probably has the best defence team money can buy, this case proves that no matter your profile, you are not safe from sentencing.
Despite claims that Pistorius would be unfit for prison due to mental disturbances related to the case, he did not manage to wriggle free of the decision. There was also concern by the defendants that the South African prison system, in its current state, would not be able to meet the needs of the paralympian. Also featured in the news recently, there are fears that the 26s gang –well known for their violence and notoriety- will endanger Pistorius. This became apparent when the leader of the gang made a personal threat directed at him, stating that “Oscar Pistorius will be taken out”.
Reeva’s family have expressed great relief that the case is finally over. Her father Barry was quoted saying “I’m glad that it’s over”, while The Guardian’s reporters were told by mother June Steenkamp that the sentence brought some relief, but the family will forever be distorted, and would never know complete closure “unless you can magic [Reeva] back.”
Pistorius’ uncle Arnold that he hopes that he will find a sense of healing in serving his sentence, and would “embrace” his punishment, and that his nephew sees it as an opportunity to “pay back” society for his crimes.
There is no doubt that the sentence will be tough for the paralympian, but his conditions should not allow him to escape the charges. While Reeva Steenkamp’s are very glad of the sentence, the public will also be proud of the justice system for refusing to waver when faced with such a special case.
Matthew Tomlin | News Cult