Former Olympian Oscar Pistorius has released from prison earlier than scheduled, South Africa’s “Blade Runner” was released on Monday and now under house arrest after serving less than a year in a South African prison for the 2013 shooting and death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp….

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to 5 years in prison October last year by Judge Thokozile Masipais. He will now be living with his uncle in South Africa where he will serve his remaining sentence under house arrest.

 

More about Oscar Pistorius 

oscar p-south-africa-pistoriusSouth African Paralympian star sprinter Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for the killing of his girlfriend last year.

“Count one, culpable homicide: the sentence imposed is five years,” Judge Thokozile Masipa said.

Pistorius was also given a three-year suspended sentence on a separate gun offence convictoin.

At the culmination of one of the most watched murder trials in recent history, the 27-year-old disabled sprinter was led away by police officers to holding cells beneath the courtroom in Pretoria.

The family of slain model Reeva Steenkamp welcomed the sentencing of Pistorius to up to five years in jail.  Steenkamp’s ailing father Barry said he was “very glad” the seven-month trial is over and a lawyer for the family said the sentence was “welcome”.

Pistorius was convicted last month of culpable homicide – South Africa’s equivalent of manslaughter. Steenkamp died almost instantly when Pistorius fired four shots through a bathroom door at his luxury Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day last year, having mistaken her for an intruder.

Judge Masipa said she wanted to find a balance between retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation, dismissing defence claims that the disabled athlete would face particular suffering in prison.

“It would be a sad day for this country if an impression were to be created that there was one law for the poor and disadvantaged and another for the rich and famous,” said Masipa.

She also weighed his ability to cope with incarceration given his physical disability.  “Yes the accused is vulnerable, but he also has excellent coping skills,” she said.

Discussing the gravity of Pistorius’s crime, the judge said he had been responsible of “gross negligence”.

“Using a lethal weapon, a loaded firearm, the accused fired not one, but four shots into the door,” said Masipa.  “The toilet was a small cubicle and there was no room for escape for the person behind the door,” she said.

The double amputee sprinter was acquitted of the more serious charge of murder over Reeva Steenkamp’s death on Valentine’s Day last year.  The prosecution has called for 10 years in jail. The defence pleaded for house arrest and community service.

Pistorius testified that he shot Steenkamp, a 29-year-old law graduate and model, four times through a locked bathroom door at his upmarket Pretoria home after he mistakenly believed she was an intruder.

His lawyers, arguing that Pistorius would be more vulnerable than most in prison because of his disability, had argued against jail time, and called instead for the equivalent of house arrest and community service.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said such a sentence would be “shockingly inappropriate” and could cause South Africans to lose faith in their legal system.

The trial has drawn international attention and media gathered outside the courthouse shortly after dawn to get into position for the star runner’s entrance and the arrival of friends and families on both sides of the case who have attended the long trial.

A man dressed in prison orange draped himself in chains, holding a sign saying: “Are certain offenders more equal than other offenders before the law?”

The athlete made history by becoming the first Paralympian to compete against able-bodied athletes at the 2012 London Olympics, inspiring millions with his story.

But during his trial the prosecution painted a darker picture of the one-time sports star, presenting a dangerously volatile young man with a penchant for guns, beautiful women and fast cars.

With the conviction and sentence, Pistorius has lost his glittering sports career, lucrative contracts and – above all – his hero status, tarnished forever.

Source: straitstimes

oscarA judge found Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide, the South African term for unintentionally — but unlawfully — killing a person.

The verdict Friday comes a day after Judge Thokozile Masipa cleared Pistorius of murder in the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp — but he could still end up behind bars.

The customary maximum prison sentence for culpable homicide is 15 years, but a typical sentence is five to eight years, said Kelly Phelps, a CNN legal analyst.

Sentencing could be weeks away and will come after more legal argument.

The verdict also dealt with three other charges, all weapons-related.

Pistorius trial: How was decision reached?

He was found not guilty of two — a car sunroof shooting incident and illegal possession of ammunition found at his house.

The judge found Pistorius guilty of the third: a charge involving a shooting at a restaurant. The maximum penalty for that is five years behind bars. But he could get a lesser sentence, such as a fine or the loss of his gun license.

The question of bail

The next step in Friday’s proceedings is the question of bail: Should Pistorius be allowed to remain free on bail, now that he has been convicted of two crimes?

Pistorius sold his house to pay legal bills. Having no assets could count against him getting bail.

‘The Pistorius I knew’

Weapons charges

In a shooting from a car’s sunroof, Masipa said the state failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. She said she didn’t find the state’s witnesses persuasive, saying their’ version of events differed too much.

In the second charge, Pistorius was found not guilty of having illegal ammunition at his house. Masipa said the state failed to introduce evidence that proved he intended to possess the ammunition. Pistorius had said he was storing it in a safe for his father.

In another shooting at a restaurant, she said the state had proven its case. Pistorius, she said, was trained in the use of guns and should not have asked for the gun at the restaurant, let alone handle it.

Letting the world know

Masipa, who has presided impassively for months over the high-profile trial, finally let the world know what she has been thinking on the first day of reading her verdict Thursday.

Pistorius did not intend to kill his girlfriend, she said, accepting his defense that he thought someone had broken into his house and that he believed he was defending himself.

Pistorius, 27, has always admitted firing the bullets that killed his girlfriend Steenkamp, then a 29-year-old cover model about to turn reality TV star. He pleaded not guilty to murdering her in his home on Valentine’s Day last year, claiming that the killing was a tragic mistake.

From ‘blade runner’ to murder suspect

But in grabbing his gun and heading toward the supposed threat, Pistorius “acted too hastily and used excessive force,” Masipa ruled Thursday.

“His conduct was negligent,” and not what a reasonable man would do in the circumstances — not even a disabled one, she said before adjourning for the day.

Defense arguments that his upbringing “in a crime-riddled environment and in a home where the mother was paranoid and always carried a firearm” might explain his conduct that night, but “it does not excuse the conduct,” Masipa said.

“The accused had reasonable time to reflect, to think and to conduct himself reasonably,” she said. “I am not persuaded that a reasonable person with the accused’s disabilities in the same circumstances would have fired four shots into that small toilet cubicle.”

There is no minimum sentence for culpable homicide in South African law, so it will be up to the judge to decide. Sentencing takes place in a separate phase of the trial that can come weeks after the verdict.

Not guilty of murder

Masipa found Pistorius not guilty Thursday of murder, premeditated or otherwise.

“The accused had reasonable time to reflect, to think and to conduct himself reasonably.”

Judge Thokozile Masipa

She said the prosecution had failed to prove its case that Pistorius and Steenkamp argued on the night of the killing, and that the Olympic track star then shot her in a rage.

Masipa was not persuaded by the testimony of neighbors who said they heard shouting, screaming and shots.

The neighbors’ stories do not match the timings on phone records the night of the killing, she concluded, saying: “Technology is more reliable than human perception and human memory.”

She also said she believes media coverage contaminated testimonies, and that state witnesses were in and out of sleep the night of the killing.

She knocked down other key aspects of the state’s case: the fact that Steenkamp took her phone and locked herself in the bathroom allegedly out of fear for her safety, phone messages between the couple that showed some rocky patches, and stomach contents that might suggest the victim ate later than Pistorius said.

Pistorius could be seen crying at times during the reading of the lengthy verdict. The Olympian’s trial started six months ago, transfixing the world with graphic details of how he fatally shot Steenkamp.

Source:CNN

oscar-pistorius-murderSouth African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius has been found “not guilty” of murdering long-time girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of 14 February 2013.

The court will resume shortly when Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver her verdict on the charge of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, and other firearms offences.

Masipa accepted the defence’s timeline of events, ruling that the shooting took place at 3.12 in the morning, crucially making the screams of distress heard by neighbours around 3.17am those of a shocked Pistorius and not Steenkamp, meaning her killing was sudden and was unlikely to have been premeditated.

There are seven facts about the only person whose opinion on Pistorius truly counts. Click here.