Prosecutors urge court to increase 'shockingly lenient' jail sentence for Oscar Pistorius

Prosecutors urge court to increase 'shockingly lenient' jail sentence for Oscar PistoriusSouth Africa's Supreme Court heard on Friday that the six year sentence handed to disabled athlete Oscar Pistorius for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp,  was “shockingly lenient." Andrea Johnson, a state prosecutor leading an appeal for a tougher prison term, told the court in Bloemfontein that Judge Thokozile Masipa had “misdirected herself” when she handed down a six year sentence for the murder last year. Ms Johnson said: "It was a brutal murder of an innocent woman who had nowhere to hide. It was a senseless killing." Originally Judge Masipa found Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide but the state appealed and the Supreme Court changed the charge to murder. Judge Masipa has since retired.  June Steenkamp, mother of Reeva Steenkamp, at the High Court of Appeal in South Africa on Friday Credit: AP Pistorius shot Ms Steenkamp, 29, a model and his girlfriend of less then three months, while she was in his small bathroom cubicle in his apartment in Pretoria in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013.  He was initially convicted of culpable homicide. The conviction was changed to murder in 2016 after prosecutors appealed the original sentence.  Ms Johnson argued that Judge Masipa did not acknowledge the brutality of the crime when she handed down the six year sentence last year, as Pistorius used a high calibre weapon and ammunition designed to "mushroom on striking a soft target such as human flesh".  Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp in November 2012, three months before he killed her Credit: LUCKY NXUMALO/AFP Pistorius, who is now 30, is known as the ‘blade runner” for his championship sprinting on special prosthetic legs. He is serving his sentence under special conditions because of his disability.  Ms Johnson said Pistorius had shown no “genuine” remorse.   Ronnie Bosielo, the judge who who heads up the five-strong court bench, said: "I am still at a loss. I ask myself why did he fire four times?  He made several attempts to apologise to the (Steenkamp) family. What more must he do?”  Barry Roux, the lawyer who appeared for Pistorius, told the court his client "had no intention to kill Reeva Steenkamp willingly and intentionally as he believed she was an intruder.”  The state argued the sentence for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp should be extended to 15 years.  Judgement was reserved on Friday. 



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