By Amala Dasarathi
We thought the Oscar Pistorius trial couldn’t get any more depressing, but turns out we were wrong. The athlete has been sentenced to only six years of imprisonment for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on 14th February, 2013. And he may not even serve the entire sentence, as this CBS journalist points out:
#Pistorius Legal experts say OP can be paroled for good behaviour after serving a third of the sentence – that is two years
— Debora Patta (@Debora_Patta) July 6, 2016
Pistorius was initially convicted of culpable homicide by a lower court. He claimed that he mistook Steenkamp for a burglar when he fired at her and was not wearing his prosthetic legs and was extremely vulnerable, in his defence, in spite of having fired four clear shots at his girlfriend.
He has already served 12 months in prison for this conviction. An appeals court reversed the verdict for culpable homicide, finding him guilty of murder. Pistorius appealed against this verdict. His appeal was rejected. Today was the sentencing for his murder charge. During the submissions made before the court for his sentencing, Pistorius hobbled across the courtroom on his stumps to display his physical vulnerability to the court, sobbing heavily.
Citing several mitigating circumstances, Judge Thokozile Masipa sentenced Pistorius to six years of imprisonment, only a year more than what he was given for the initial conviction of culpable homicide, and community service, instead of the minimum 15 years for murder under South African law. She said it was a “noble gesture” for him to agree to do community service. She took into consideration the fact that Pistorius is a “renowned athlete,” when this clearly has nothing to do with what his sentence for murder should be, said that Pistorius had “lost his career” and was a “fallen hero.” According to her, giving him a longer sentence than six years would not “serve justice.”
This reminds us of the case of Stanford student and star swimmer Brock Turner, who was sentenced to only six months of imprisonment for raping a woman last month, and who may only serve three months of his six month sentence. The judge believed a prison sentence would have a “severe impact” on him, ignoring the severe impact of his crime on the woman he assaulted. Pistorius, who murdered his partner, will similarly not face the prison sentence he deserves under law.
Now excuse us while we go shut ourselves in a cave for the next 100 years. Maybe when we return, the world will be less kind to criminals whose victims are women.