Pistorius to be sentenced on July 6


Oscar Pistorius will be sentenced for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on July 6, Judge Thokozile Masipa confirmed on Wednesday.

The announcement was made on day three of the sentencing hearing in Pretoria for Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Pistorius, during which the double amputee removed his prosthetic legs to hobble around the courtroom at the request of his defence lawyer, Barry Roux.

Pistorius, who claimed he thought Ms Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her dead at his home in 2013, was originally sentenced to five years in prison in October 2014 and subsequently released on house arrest 12 months later.

However, his initial conviction of culpable homicide for killing the model was upgraded to murder last December by South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal.

In his closing argument on Wednesday, state prosecutor Gerrie Nel said Judge Masipa now had no choice but to start with a 15-year sentence, the minimum term for murder in South Africa.

However, Roux said no purpose would be served by sending the 29-year-old back to jail, arguing he should instead perform community service.

Prior to announcing the date of Pistorius' second sentencing, Judge Masipa allowed an application from the prosecution, backed by the Steenkamp family, to publish photos of the deceased's injuries.

Nel had earlier stated: "Isn't it time we now finally let the world see what this accused did with four black talon rounds through a door."

Roux, meanwhile, highlighted his client's vulnerability when inviting Pistorius to remove his prostheses before making his way across the courtroom.

"I don't want to overplay vulnerability, that's not what I want to do. I don't want to overplay disability," said Roux.

"But the time has come that we must just look with different eyes, at least with unbiased eyes.

"It doesn't mean because he's vulnerable that he can do what he likes. That's not what we say. But when we're entering the field of sentencing, look at that man's conduct. Please let's understand. Who is this man that you must sentence?"

Nel highlighted the devastation shown by Steenkamp's family and said Judge Masipa had a duty to ensure: "The court will never be lenient on any crime that caused that grief."