His disability and the year he’s already spent in jail would be among the factors Judge Thokozile Masipa could use to justify deviating from the minimum of 15 years for murder, a lawyer not involved in the case said on Tuesday.
“My gut feeling is that he’ll get 10 years,” advocate Marius du Toit said.
On 3 December last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal ordered that the former paralympic athlete be sentenced afresh, after it overturned Masipa’s finding that he was guilty of culpable homicide. It replaced her verdict with one of murder.
During sentencing proceedings in June, prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked Masipa to sentence Pistorius to a minimum of 15 years because he intentionally killed Steenkamp.
He said Pistorius had still not shown remorse for murdering the model and law graduate on 14 February, 2013. He had failed to take the court into his confidence and reveal his reasons for firing the four shots that killed her. Instead, he gave an interview to broadcaster ITV. Nel said this was disrespectful to the court and to the Steenkamps.
Barry Roux, for Pistorius, said the athlete was a vulnerable man with an anxiety disorder, and stands only 1,5 metres tall on his stumps. He said on 15 June that Pistorius confronted what he believed was an intruder hiding in his bathroom, in the dark, at 3am that day in February. He was still portrayed as a gold-medal winner; a strong, ambitious man who stands 1,84 metres tall. “That perception perfectly attaches to the I-wanted-to-kill theory,” said Roux.
Masipa also ruled that six photos of Steenkamp taken at the scene of the crime could be published. Nel made the request, following Barry Steenkamp’s testimony that he wanted the world to see what Pistorius did to his daughter in the hope that this would prevent similar crimes.