Vastavam web: Oscar Pistorius’ prison sentence was more than doubled to 13 years and five months today, a surprisingly dramatic intervention by South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal in the Olympic athlete’s fate after the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.In an announcement that took a matter of minutes, Supreme Court Justice Willie Seriti said a panel of judges unanimously upheld an appeal by prosecutors against Pistorius’ original six-year sentence for shooting Steenkamp multiple times in his home in 2013.Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June, were “emotional” as they watched Seriti deliver the verdict live on television at their home, family lawyer Tania Koen said.
“They feel there has been justice for Reeva. She can now rest in peace,” Koen told The Associated Press. “But at the same time, people must realize that people think this is the end of the road for them the fact is they still live with Reeva’s loss every day.” Pistorius killed Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 after shooting four times through a closed toilet cubicle door with his 9 mm pistol.Prosecutors called the six-year sentence much too lenient and the Supreme Court agreed, saying in a full written ruling released later that “the sentence of six years’ imprisonment is shockingly lenient to a point where it has the effect of trivialising this serious offence.”
The Supreme Court said that Pistorius “displays a lack of remorse, and does not appreciate the gravity of his actions.” The new sentence of 13 years and five months took into account the one year and seven months Pistorius served in prison and under house arrest after his manslaughter conviction.The new sentence was backdated to start on the day he began his murder sentence, on July 6 last year.
Supreme Court judges are generally reluctant to change sentences handed down by trial courts, and it’s rare for them to change one so dramatically.Pistorius, who turned 31 on Wednesday, is being held at the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre on the outskirts of the South African capital, Pretoria, and did not attend any of the appeal hearings.Today’s decision also has possible consequences for where he is held for the remainder of his sentence. Pistorius was moved from the high security Kgosi Mampuru II Prison in central Pretoria to Atteridgeville, which houses prisoners sentenced to six years or less. Pistorius might now be moved back to a higher security facility.