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‘Prison cannot secure Oscar’s safety’

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A prison will not be able to secure Oscar Pistorius’s safety, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

“My opinion is that the accused is vulnerable [in prison]. They cannot eliminate his vulnerability and they cannot secure his safety,” Annette Vergeer said under cross-examination from prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

“That can be a great danger to the accused. If they take his legs away… the accused cannot stand up for himself.”

Nel said prison officials were professional people who knew how to deal with people with disabilities.

He asked Vergeer why she did not trust prison officials.

She said Pistorius needed to be looked at on his personal circumstances.

On September 12, Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide on for the Valentine’s Day 2013, shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse. The court found him not guilty of murdering Steenkamp.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through the locked door of the toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to emerge and attack him. She was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Vergeer said that she did not make recommendations but only compiled reports.

She earlier presented her report on Pistorius, which the defence had paid her to compile, to the court. In it she recommended that Pistorius get three years of correctional supervision and community service for killing Steenkamp.

Pistorius was also found guilty of firing a pistol under a table at Tasha’s restaurant in Johannesburg in January 2013 and not guilty of shooting through the open sunroof of a car in Modderfontein on September 30, 2012.

The case was adjourned to Wednesday morning. SAPA

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