Date set for Oscar Pistorius to be sentenced for girlfriend's murder
Published 18/04/2016 | 13:51
South Africa's former Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has appeared in court in Pretoria where a judge scheduled five days in June to sentence him for the murder of his girlfriend.
The 29-year-old double amputee sprinter, who was found guilty of murdering Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013, was greeted by a small group of supporters outside the court.
Judge Aubrey Ledwaba said the sentencing hearing for Pistorius will be held from June 13 to 17.
Pistorius had appealed against his murder conviction at South Africa's Constitutional Court, arguing that a lower court erred when it overturned his manslaughter conviction and found him guilty of murder. The Constitutional Court judges dismissed his appeal.
The minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years, though it can be reduced.
The sentencing hearing will be heard by Judge Thokozile Masipa, who presided over Pistorius's trial and found him guilty of manslaughter, a verdict that was overturned by a higher court that found him guilty of murder.
Pistorius is expected to argue for a lesser sentence.
He has already spent one year in the hospital wing of Kgosi Mampuru II prison in Pretoria.
Pistorius is currently serving the remainder of his five-year manslaughter sentence under house arrest and he stays at his uncle's home in Pretoria.
He was cheered by his supporters, most of whom were dressed in white, when he left the court and navigated his way through a scrum of reporters.
A leader of the supporters, Don Hassett, appealed for a lenient sentence for Pistorius.
"He knows it was wrong and he has admitted that but the media has generated hatred against Oscar," Mr Hasset told reporters.
Before the proceedings a group of supporters gathered inside the courtroom and prayed for the athlete.