Dreams and night­mares

CityPress - - News -

No mat­ter which way you look at it, the fu­ture is bleak for Os­car Pis­to­rius, say le­gal ex­perts.

They say the 29-year-old dou­bleam­putee Olympian faces a 15-year jail term af­ter the Supreme Court of Ap­peal set aside his cul­pa­ble homi­cide con­vic­tion and five-year sen­tence this week.

Crim­i­nal law ex­pert Ul­rich Roux, who fol­lowed Pis­to­rius’ trial from the be­gin­ning, said on Fri­day that “in terms of South African law, the min­i­mum sen­tence for a mur­der con­vic­tion is 15 years in jail. That is what Pis­to­rius will be fac­ing as he ap­pears in court for sen­tenc­ing.”

But he cau­tioned: “Just be­cause the min­i­mum sen­tence is 15 years, does not nec­es­sar­ily mean the sen­tence can­not be less than that.”

Amanda Vi­lakazi, a Joburg at­tor­ney who has dealt ex­ten­sively with crim­i­nal mat­ters, agreed with Roux.

“Pis­to­rius can get more, or even fewer, years in jail for his mur­der con­vic­tion.

“If his lawyers can show com­pelling and sub­stan­tial cir­cum­stances in mit­i­ga­tion of sen­tence, the judge might de­vi­ate from the min­i­mum sen­tence and give him a sen­tence be­low the min­i­mum, ac­cord­ing to South African law.

“The judge will prob­a­bly take into con­sid­er­a­tion that Pis­to­rius has served part of his term in jail, his fu­ture, and the fact that the mur­der was not pre­med­i­tated,” said Vi­lakazi.

– Zinhle Ma­pumulo

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