Closing arguments for sentencing in the culpable homicide case against paralympian Oscar Pistorius are set to be delivered in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday. During this week’s sentencing procedures, the State called two witnesses — the victim Reeva Steenkamp’s cousin, Kim Martin, and the acting national commissioner of correctional services, Zach Modise.
The defence called four — Pistorius’s psychologist Lore Hartzenberg, his manager Petrus van Zyl, correctional services department social worker Mashaba Joel Maringa and probation officer and social worker Annette Vergeer.
On September 12, Judge Thokozile Masipa found Pistorius guilty of the culpable homicide of model and law graduate Steenkamp, but not guilty of her murder. Pistorius had claimed he thought there was a burglar in his toilet when he fired four shots through the locked door in the early hours of February 14 last year, killing his then girlfriend.
Masipa also found Pistorius guilty of discharging a firearm in public, when he fired a shot from a friend’s gun under the table of a Johannesburg restaurant in January last year.
He was found not guilty on two other firearms-related charges.
In South African law, culpable homicide is considered to be the killing of a human being through negligence – as opposed to intention.
Sentencing options are broad, ranging from being fined, to receiving a suspended sentence or being placed under correctional supervision such as house arrest. Imprisonment is not mandatory but jail time of up to 15 years can be stipulated in the sentence. SAPA