by Graham Pierrepoint
South African court doubles Oscar Pistorius sentence to over 13 yrs for killing girlfriend --
The arrest and eventual sentencing of South African Paralympian superstar Oscar Pistorius in 2013 rocked the world of sport – he was indicted and imprisoned for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, whom Pistorius and his defence counsel claimed was killed in mistaken self-defence. However, the South African courts didn’t believe such a defence – and the once so-called ‘Blade Runner’ was sentenced to six years in jail. Many at the time – and since – have claimed that the sentence was far too lenient for the crime committed, and thus several appeals have been raised.
Those prayers may have been answered, it seems, as the Supreme Court of Appeal has just announced that Pistorius will be expected to serve at least 13 years and five months in jail for Steenkamp’s murder. The move comes after the State petitioned to have the sentence extended – and while Justice Legoabe Willie Seriti advised that Pistorius’ time in jail should have been increased to 15 years, the SCA has taken into account the amount of time the former track athlete has already served based upon his initial conviction.
Watch: South African court doubles Oscar Pistorius's prison sentence ▶
The SCA advised that it was ‘difficult on the evidence’ in finding proof of genuine remorse from Pistorius for Steenkamp’s murder – with Justice Seriti stating that he was not keen to hold back on extending the sentence for these reasons. “To my mind, the attempt by the respondent (Pistorious) to apologize to the deceased’s family does not demonstrate any genuine remorse on his part.”
“It is clear herefrom that the respondent is unable to appreciate the crime he has committed. The logical consequence is that the respondent displays a lack of remorse, and does not appreciate the gravity of his actions,” Seriti motioned. Pistorius was initially sentenced to five years in prison in 2014 for culpable homicide, and was released after ten months to move into house arrest – however, the State appealed, and it was decided that the athlete had committed murder – and that he would serve six years from 2016 onwards.
The news that Pistorius will now serve extra jail time will likely be met with controversy as well as elation – South Africa is still reeling from the appalling act carried out by one of their most popular sporting exports – though those following the trial, and very likely Steenkamp’s family, will welcome the extended sentencing to effectively punish Pistorius even further.