South African paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius revealed a rather vulnerable side of himself on the third day of his sentencing hearing in Pretoria.
In a last minute bid by the defence team to save the athlete from a long prison term, Pistorius’ lawyer Barry Roux asked his client to walk in the court on his stumps to show the difficulty he encountered in dealing with the threat of an intruder.
Teary-eyed and filled with emotion, Pistorius took off his prosthetic legs and stood in front of the court’s television camera while fighting back tears.
I think that 15 years imprisonment ought to be imposed as a minimum. I don't think the life of Reeva Steenkamp was a minimum, my lady.
“The accused was vulnerable because of his disability,” Roux pitched as he made his case for a non-custodial sentence that included community service for Pistorius.
“All deterrents have already been used. Now if a decision is made on the basis of elements of deterrence, this would serve simply to hide a punishment” he further argued.
The 29-year-old Paralympic gold medallist, faces a minimum of 15 years in jail after his manslaughter conviction for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013 was upgraded to murder late last year.
But prosecutor, Gerry Nel argued that: “I think that 15 years imprisonment ought to be imposed as a minimum. I don’t think the life of Reeva Steenkamp was a minimum, my lady.”
Earlier, Steenkamp’s cousin Kim Martin, who also testified fought back tears saying she found it hard to cope with the killing.
She also wondered why Pistorius had granted a television interview rather than testify at the pre-sentencing hearings.
Pistorius will be sentenced for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on July 6.
He has always maintained that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired four shots through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria home, killing her almost instantly.