Oscar Pistorius could face just house-arrest and community service for killing Reeva Steenkamp

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On the 12th September, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide. By the end of the sentencing hearing that began this week, Pistorius will face a punishment for shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to death, which could range from a fine to prison.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said the Olympian acted negligently when shooting Steenkamp through a toilet door, but that he had genuinely thought her to be an intruder.

Culpable homicide means there was no intention to kill. Additionally, the charge takes into account disability. The punishment of someone found guilty of culpable homicide ranges from community service and a fine, to a maximum of 15 years imprisonment (between seven and 10 years is most common) which could be turned into a suspended sentence.

During this week’s sentencing hearing, the athlete’s ‘caring’ image has been questioned, with the prosecution team analysing his charity work. The Paralympian actively and publicly supports the Mineseeker Foundation, a charity that aims to raise awareness for landmine victims, with a specific support programme that provides prosthetic limbs for victims. The Prosecution claim that the motivation for this work was merely to further his career and create an image of a compassionate public figure.

Meanwhile, the Defence team are trying to show how, for Pistorius, prison would be an inappropriate option; stating that his mental health would quickly deteriorate and his physical disability would be a major issue in jail.

On Monday, the prosecution was angered in court at the Defence’s suggestion of community service and house arrest. The Prosecutor (Gerrie Nel) said this suggestion was a “shockingly inappropriate” punishment.

The IPC have announced that Pistorius will be free to compete as usual once he has served his charges.

The sentencing hearing is expected to last several days.