Pistorius walks on stumps in court
Oscar Pistorius removed his prostheses and hobbled on his stumps in front of a judge in a South African courtroom yesterday, part of his defence team's attempt to show that the double-amputee Olympic athlete, convicted of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, is a vulnerable man who deserves leniency when he is sentenced.
"Pity will play no role in the sentence," chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel countered, asking Judge Thokozile Masipa to send the former track star to prison for 15 years, the minimum sentence for murder in South Africa.
Masipa will announce Pistorius' sentence on July 6, she said at the end of three days of testimony and arguments in Pistorius' sentencing hearing.
That sentencing is also expected to conclude the three-year legal saga of Pistorius, the once-acclaimed athlete and an inspiration to many before he shot his girlfriend in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day 2013. Pistorius is currently under house arrest after an appeals court overturned an initial manslaughter conviction against him and changed that to murder. He served one year in prison for manslaughter.
Pistorius said he thought he was shooting at an intruder, but prosecutors charged he intentionally killed his girlfriend after a fight.
Masipa, who initially acquitted Pistorius of murder at his trial in 2014, must now resentence him.
Masipa on Wednesday lifted a ban on the publication of graphic photographs of the gunshot wounds Pistorius inflicted on Steenkamp which included a severe head injury when he shot her multiple times through a toilet cubicle door in his home. Masipa lifted the restrictions after a request from Steenkamp's father that people be allowed to see them.
The most dramatic image of the sentencing hearing was Pistorius walking unsteadily on his stumps in the courtroom yesterday.