Oscar Pistorius sentencing hearing to hear 'emotional evidence'

Former Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius appeared in South African court Wednesday, and on July 6 he will receive sentencing for his conviction of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.

Pistorius lawyer Barry Roux asked his client to walk in the court on his stumps to show the difficulty he faced while dealing with the threat of an intruder.

Earlier, the court heard from final witness and cousin of Steenkamp, Kim Martin, who attacked Pistorius for "never apologising for shooting Reeva".

The North Gauteng High Court should not be unduly sympathetic when sentencing Oscar Pistorius for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp, the state argued on Wednesday.

The athlete killed his girlfriend on Valentine's Day of 2013 when he fired a gun four times through a locked toilet door at his Pretoria home.

He faces a minimum of 15 years in prison, but the defense will argue the judge can reduce the prison sentence and include time served. "It was a 1.5-metre person, standing on his stumps, three o'clock in the morning when it was dark".

"I don't feel the true version came out", Martin said.

"She added that she was uncertain whether Pistorius and Steenkamp were in a truly loving relationship".

The State has accused convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius of disrespecting the court and Reeva Steenkamp, for not testifying during sentencing proceedings, but instead giving an interview to a British television station.

The sentence hearing for Pistorius began on Monday.

Roux referred to another well-known case in South Africa, where a rugby player shot and killed his daughter by mistake thinking she was a criminal trying to steal his vehicle in the early hours of the morning.

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in 2012.

The chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, has portrayed Mr. Pistorius as a man given to fits of anger and self-pity.

Judge Masipa will deliver Pistorius's sentence after hearings end this week. "He did", Nel said. "His failure to conduct a rational thought process does not negate his vulnerability".

The lawyers' pleas followed tearful testimony on Tuesday from Mr. Barry Steenkamp, who said the death of his daughter had plunged him and his wife into an abyss of grief and contributed to his having had a stroke.

The athlete originally received a five-year sentence for a manslaughter conviction, that was upgraded to murder on appeal.

"I decided it was necessary to take up one media offer that would provide our family with a voice to address some of the misconceptions that have remained unchallenged", Arnold Pistorius said.

Mr. Steenkamp said he had seen "only one photo" of his daughter's murdered body, which was produced in court when Mr. Steenkamp was present two years ago, but wanted "the world to see" the others, as a warning about the dangers of firearms.

  • Sheila Mcguire