THE six-year imprisonment sentence imposed on Oscar Pistorius for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp trivialises the seriousness of the offence‚ the South Africa Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has found.
The SCA on Friday set aside the jail term imposed by the Pretoria High Court on South Africa’s Pistorius last year and replaced it with 13 years and five months.
The judgment comes after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) approached the SCA to appeal against Pistorius’s sentence‚ which it argued was “shockingly low”.
“I am of the view that the court a quo [the court below] misdirected itself in its assessment of an appropriate sentence‚” said Judge Willie Seriti.
“The sentence of six years’ imprisonment is shockingly lenient to a point where it has the effect of trivialising this serious offence‚” Judge Seriti found.
He said Pistorius had failed to explain why he fired the fatal shots and his testimony was “vacillating and untruthful”.
The court also found that the trial court over-emphasised Pistorius’s personal circumstances.
“I am of the view that there are no substantial and compelling circumstances which can justify the departure from the prescribed minimum sentence‚” Seriti said.
The SCA ruled that Pistorius should receive credit for the periods of imprisonment and correctional supervision he has already served.
Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide in 2014‚ but the SCA upgraded his conviction to murder in 2015. The Paralympic athlete shot and killed his girlfriend, and later claimed he thought “ she was an intruder”.-Sowetan