'No compelling factors to justify lesser sentence for #OscarPistorius'

By Karishma Dipa and Zelda Venter Time of article published Nov 3, 2017

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Bloemfontein - There were no compelling factors to rationalise its decision to impose a six-year sentence on Oscar Pistorius for murder as opposed to the 15-year minimum sentence, State prosecutor Andrea Johnson argued before the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on Friday.

"There are no substantial and compelling circumstances which justify the imposition of a lesser sentence...,"  Johnson said.

Johnson said that while trial Judge Thokozile Masipa said these compelling circumstances did exist, she did not list them.

"There were no reasons," Johnson said.

Johnson said Judge Masipa had misdirected herself when she meted out " this shockingly lenient sentence". 

"The sentence was so shockingly lenient that it could not be accepted... It was a brutal murder of an innocent woman who had nowhere to hide, it was a senseless  killing,"  Johnson said.

But Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Ronnie Bosielo, who is heading the five judge bench, on several occasions questioned exactly where Judge Masipa had erred.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is petitioning the court for leave to appeal the sentence after Judge Masipa denied it leave to appeal the sentence, stating that there was no prospect for another court reaching a different conclusion.

ALSO READ: #OscarPistorius: Reeva's mom in court for State's appeal

Pistorius shot his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, 29, on Valentine's Day in 2013. 

He claimed he shot through the bathroom door because he thought she was an intruder. 

Pistorius's initial culpable homicide conviction was changed to murder by the SCA following the State's appeal. The court found even if he thought there was an intruder in the house he should have foreseen his actions could lead to the death of whoever was behind the bathroom door. 

Masipa subsequently sentenced him to six years in prison for the murder conviction.

Judge Bosielo on Friday also questioned why Oscar had shot and killed Reeva.

The judge remarked that he had read the record of the proceedings and he was still in the dark.

" I am still at a loss.. I ask myself why did he fire four times?"  the judge asked Johnson.

Johnson also argued that Oscar showed no remorse for what he had done. 

Judge Bosielo responded to this: He made several attempts to appologise to the (Steenkamp) family. What more must he do?"

The courtroom meanwhile filled up as the morning progressed, with about 10 member of the ANC women's League arriving.

The State had conclude its arguments and the defence, headed by advocate Barry Roux, will proceed after the tea break.

African News Agency and Pretoria News

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