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Author Topic: Steenkamp?s family wants jail term for Pistorius  (Read 264 times)

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Steenkamp?s family wants jail term for Pistorius
« on: October 16, 2014, 05:28:18 PM »

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius should be given ?sufficient punishment? for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, her cousin has told the sentencing hearing in Pretoria.

Kim Martin told the court Pistorius ?needs to pay for what he has done?.

The prosecution is making its case for a jail term for Pistorius, 27.

He was convicted of culpable homicide last month but cleared of murder and faces up to 15 years in jail, but the judge may suspend it or impose a fine.

The defence has argued that Pistorius should serve house arrest and community service for the killing ? a suggestion branded as ?shockingly inappropriate? by prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

The prosecution insists that Pistorius should go to jail, saying his negligent actions have left a ?broken family?.

Correspondents say that because of delays the sentence is unlikely to be announced until next month, with the hearing expected to be adjourned at the end of this week.

Martin ? the prosecution?s first sentencing witness ? said on Thursday that she was fearful of Pistorius.

?My family are not people who are seeking revenge, we just feel that to shoot somebody behind a door that is unarmed, that is harmless, needs sufficient punishment,? she said.

On Wednesday, Martin recounted her pain at hearing that the 29-year-old South African model had been shot dead, saying her death was ?the end of the world?.

Moleko Modise, the Acting National Commissioner for Correctional Services, was later called to defend the reputation of South African prisons, which he said ?can cope? with disabled prisoners like Pistorius.

He said that a health assessment was conducted on all inmates ?within six hours of admission?, and a complete assessment would be completed within 21 days to consider the ?security classification? and ?social and psychological needs? of the prisoner.

Under cross-examination from defence lawyer Barry Roux, Modise said he thought Pistorius should be placed in the hospital wing of a prison, not the regular section.

Roux cited reports of undiagnosed tuberculosis in South African prisons, as well as rising numbers of incidents of assault and torture in the past year.

Under questioning, Modise said there was one resident doctor for about 7,000 inmates at the Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria.

Roux also said several newspapers had reported threats made by prisoners against Pistorius. However, Modise said he was not aware of any threats being made against Pistorius.

Nel has said he will call three or four witnesses in all.

On Wednesday, Nel cross-examined social worker Annette Vergeer.

The defence witness had said double-amputee Pistorius should be placed under house arrest rather than sent to prison, because he would be ?a lot more vulnerable than the normal man? in jail.

Nel said her opinion of a sentence of house arrest plus community service ?cannot be considered?.

?If the court sentence is too light, and society loses trust in the court, they will take the law into their own hands,? Nel said.

?That?s what the court has to guard against.?

The Paralympic sprinter denied murdering Steenkamp after a row on Valentine?s Day last year, saying he shot her by mistake.

Steenkamp, a law graduate, was hit three times by bullets shot through a toilet door by Pistorius at his home in the capital, Pretoria.


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