JOHANNESBURG – The South African public prosecutor’s office on Friday appealed for a longer sentence for para-athlete Oscar Pistorius, currently serving a six-year prison sentence for the murder of his wife.
The prosecution wants the sentence to be raised to 15 years, having called the current punishment shockingly light.
The Supreme Court of Appeals heard the arguments of prosecutor Andrea Johnson, who said there were no grounds to justify a sentence lesser than the minimum 15 years stipulated by South African laws for the crime of murder.
The prosecutor, who replaced Gerrie Nel in the beginning of 2017, said that the death of the model Reeva Steenkamp was unjustified and Pistorius had not offered a reason for killing her.
Johnson said Pistorius had fired four times, emphasizing that he was a trained individual and not vulnerable, and questioned if he was truly remorseful.
The court also heard arguments of the defense, led by Barry Roux, who said that Pistorius had fired in fear and was not wearing his prosthetic legs at the time.
The National Prosecution Authority appealed in 2016, after the original verdict of 5 years in prison for manslaughter had already been overturned in 2015 by a murder verdict.
The para-athlete had claimed that he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder and panicked.
The court had held Pistorius guilty of murder, overturning the culpable homicide verdict of 2014, considering there had been a clear intent to kill regardless of Pistorius’ knowledge of the victim’s identity.
Pistorius, who will turn 31 this month, shot his girlfriend four times through the bathroom door of his Pretoria residence on Feb. 14, 2013.
The incident ended career of the celebrated para-athlete who became the first athlete to compete in the Olympics, in London in 2012, on prosthetic blades.