Prosecutors Seek to Lengthen Oscar Pistorius's Prison Term

Updated on
  • Six-year jail term for murder called ‘shockingly’ lenient
  • Paralympic star shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013

South Africa’s appeals court reserved judgment on Friday after state prosecutors asked to extend Oscar Pistorius’s jail sentence, arguing the six years handed to the Olympian for murdering his model girlfriend was “shockingly” lenient.

The Paralympic gold medalist shot Reeva Steenkamp in the bathroom of his home in the South African capital, Pretoria, on Valentine’s Day in 2013, saying he mistook her for an intruder. While the double-amputee was convicted of murder, the lower-court judge took circumstances including his state of mind into account in giving him a sentence less than the prescribed 15 years.

Oscar Pistorius in 2016.

Photographer: Marco Longari/AFP via Getty Images

Prosecutor Andrea Johnson said in the Supreme Court of Appeal in the central city of Bloemfontein that High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa “misdirected” herself in conceding to Pistorius’s plea for leniency and that she was wrong to say the athlete had shown remorse for the killing.

Masipa originally convicted Pistorius, 30, of manslaughter before the appeals court ruled that he was guilty of murder, citing “errors of law” in the first verdict. He started the six-year sentence in July last year.

The panel of judges on Friday asked defense attorney Barry Roux a number of questions about why Pistorius didn’t warn the intruder that he would shoot before firing four times into the door.

Roux asked the court to consider the state of mind of Pistorius, who he said has a fear of crime, is afflicted with anxiety disorder and was suffering from post-traumatic stress during the trial. The lawyer argued that Judge Masipa looked at the wider factors involved and didn’t make retribution a dominant factor in her decision.

Pistorius won six Paralympic gold medals and was the first double-amputee runner to compete at the Olympic Games, in London in 2012. He was born without fibula in both legs, which were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old.

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