Friday 30 September 2016

Woman whose son was born without legs questioned at Oscar Pistorius sentencing hearing

Published 14/06/2016 | 10:10

Barry Steenkamp revealed his family's devastation over his daughter's murder (AP)
Barry Steenkamp revealed his family's devastation over his daughter's murder (AP)

Oscar Pistorius's chief defence lawyer has questioned a pastor and a woman whose son was born without legs at a hearing in South Africa to decide the former Paralympic athlete's sentence for murdering his girlfriend.

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Pastor Marius Nel told the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday that he had been in contact with schools which want the double-amputee athlete to help disadvantaged children with sports training.

His evidence reflects an argument by defence lawyer Barry Roux that Pistorius should not go to jail for killing Reeva Steenkamp because he can make a valuable contribution to society.

Another witness, Ebba Gudny Gudmundsdottir, of Iceland, testified that Pistorius was kind to her disabled son and gave him a gold medal that he won at a race.

Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius
Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius

Pistorius was initially sentenced to five years in prison - and served one year before being moved to house arrest - after being found guilty in 2014 of manslaughter for shooting Ms Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013.

That ruling was overturned by South Africa's Supreme Court last year, and Pistorius was convicted of murder.

South Africa has a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for murder, although a judge can reduce that in some circumstances.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, who initially acquitted Pistorius of murder at his trial, is presiding over the sentencing hearing, which is scheduled to continue until Friday, and will decide his new sentence.

Press Association

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