'Oscar can appeal sentence'

Oscar Pistorius' new sentence for murder is 13 years.
Oscar Pistorius' new sentence for murder is 13 years.
Image: ALON SKUY

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein last week increased Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius' sentence for murdering his girlfriend to 13 years and five months, marking a victory for the prosecution in a case that attracted international interest.

This effectively more than doubles his original sentence of six years handed down by the court of first instance, and generally regarded as unduly lenient.

Pistorius, 31, was not in court.

The state argued earlier this month that Pistorius had failed to show genuine remorse after killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

"One of the essential ingredients of a balanced sentence is that it must reflect the seriousness of the offence," Andrea Johnson of the National Prosecution Authority, told the court.

Pistorius' counsel Barry Roux mounted a strong defence at the trial court, with the judge saying she took into account his claim he believed he was shooting an intruder.

The athlete shot dead Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day in 2013, firing four times through the door of his bedroom toilet.

He pleaded not guilty at his trial in 2014, denying he had killed Steenkamp in a rage, but mistook her for a burglar.

In 2015, Pistorius was found guilty of murder and given less than half of the minimum 15 years in jail. Pistorius was originally convicted of culpable homicide but the appeal court upgraded his conviction.

Constitutional law expert at the University of South Africa's law school Nazreen Shaik Peremanov said Pistorius could now appeal the sentence at the Constitutional Court.

"They were forced to impose that sentence, and the court found there were no substantial and compelling circumstances and thus handed down that period of imprisonment," said legal analyst Ulrich Roux, who said the sentence had been harsher than in the past.

Oscar's brother Carl Pistorius tweeted he was "shattered".

Thandi Maqubela acquitted on appeal . /Esa Alexander
Thandi Maqubela acquitted on appeal . /Esa Alexander

• On Friday, Judge Dayalin Chetty sentenced Christopher Panayiotou to life behind bars in the Port Elizabeth High Court for the murder of his wife Jayde. The Uitenhage teacher‚ 29‚ went missing from outside her home in Kabega Park‚ Port Elizabeth‚ on April 21 2015. Her body was found in KwaNobuhle the next day

• Thandi Maqubela had her murder conviction overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeal on September 29. Maqubela, 62, dubbed “the black widow”, had been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in 2015 for the murder of her husband, acting judge Patrick Maqubela.

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