Oscar Pistorius’ jail sentence was greater than doubled to 13 years and 5 months on Friday, a surprisingly dramatic intervention by South Africa’s Supreme Court docket of Attraction within the Olympic athlete’s destiny after the homicide of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
In an announcement that took a matter of minutes, Supreme Court docket Justice Willie Seriti stated a panel of judges unanimously upheld an attraction by prosecutors towards Pistorius’ unique six-year sentence for taking pictures Steenkamp a number of occasions in his dwelling in 2013.
Underneath that preliminary sentence, which the courtroom known as “shockingly lenient,” the double-amputee runner might have been launched on parole in mid-2019. Now, the earliest he’ll be eligible for parole is 2023.
The ruling might lastly deliver an finish to the close to five-year authorized saga surrounding Pistorius, a a number of Paralympic champion and record-breaker who was the primary amputee to run on the Olympics and one of the vital celebrated sportsmen on the planet.
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Steenkamp’s mother and father, Barry and June, had been “emotional” as they watched Seriti ship the decision reside on tv at their dwelling, household lawyer Tania Koen stated.
“They really feel there was justice for Reeva. She will be able to now relaxation in peace,” Koen instructed The Related Press. “However on the similar time, folks should notice that individuals assume that is the top of the highway for them … the very fact is that they nonetheless reside with Reeva’s loss day by day.”
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Pistorius killed Steenkamp within the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 after taking pictures 4 occasions via a closed bathroom cubicle door together with his 9 mm pistol. He claimed he mistook the 29-year-old mannequin and actuality TV star for an intruder and was initially convicted of manslaughter by trial choose Thokozile Masipa. That conviction was overturned and changed with a homicide conviction by the Supreme Court docket in 2015. Pistorius was then sentenced to 6 years for homicide by Masipa, a choice additionally now rejected by the Supreme Court docket.
Prosecutors known as the six-year sentence a lot too lenient and the Supreme Court docket agreed, saying in a full written ruling launched later that “the sentence of six years’ imprisonment is shockingly lenient to some extent the place it has the impact of trivialising this critical offence.”
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The Supreme Court docket stated that Pistorius “shows a scarcity of regret, and doesn’t recognize the gravity of his actions.”
Pistorius’ brother, Carl, wrote on Twitter: “Shattered. Heartbroken. Gutted.” A spokesman for the Pistorius household didn’t reply calls from the AP.Pistorius ought to have been sentenced to the prescribed minimal of 15 years for homicide, Seriti stated, as he delivered the decision of a panel of 5 judges on the Supreme Court docket within the central metropolis of Bloemfontein. There isn’t any loss of life penalty in South Africa.
The brand new sentence of 13 years and 5 months took under consideration the one 12 months and 7 months Pistorius served in jail and beneath home arrest after his manslaughter conviction.
The brand new sentence was backdated to start out on the day he started his homicide sentence, on July 6 final 12 months.
Supreme Court docket judges are usually reluctant to alter sentences handed down by trial courts, and it’s uncommon for them to alter one so dramatically.
“I didn’t anticipate the Supreme Court docket of Attraction at hand down such a prolonged sentence of imprisonment,” authorized analyst Ulrich Roux stated on the eNCA information channel. “However, if one seems to be at what the legislation states, and given the truth that homicide does carry the minimal sentence of 15 years in jail, I feel the choice might be vindicated.”
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Pistorius should serve not less than half of the 13 years and 5 months — practically seven years — earlier than he could be thought of for parole. He has served a 12 months and 5 months of his homicide sentence.
Pistorius, who turned 31 on Wednesday, is being held on the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre on the outskirts of the South African capital, Pretoria, and didn’t attend any of the attraction hearings.
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Friday’s resolution additionally has doable penalties for the place he’s held for the rest of his sentence. Pistorius was moved from the excessive safety Kgosi Mampuru II Jail in central Pretoria to Atteridgeville, which homes prisoners sentenced to 6 years or much less. Pistorius would possibly now be moved again to the next safety facility.
Pistorius’ legal professionals have one avenue left open to them in the event that they wish to problem the brand new sentence, and that’s to attraction to the Constitutional Court docket, the very best courtroom in South Africa.
Pistorius failed with an attraction to the Constitutional Court docket final 12 months to problem his homicide conviction.