Pistorius Sentencing Hearing Gets Under Way

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OscarPistorius is back in court for the third day of his sentencing hearing after being found guilty of culpable homicide.The 27-year-old was convicted last month over the shooting dead of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s day 2013.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel picked up from his cross examination of probation officer Annette Vergeer, a defence witness, who on Tuesday told the hearing that Pistorius would be “broken as a person” if he was jailed.

Ms Vergeer, who was paid by the defence to produce her report, said Pistorius would be vulnerable to violence and placed in highly stressful situations because of his disability.

“The death of the deceased and the period since have been a far bigger punishment than incarceration,” she said.

Mr Nel said people in wheelchairs in prison were more vulnerable than those with prosthetics, and accused Ms Vergeer, who insisted she had almost three decades of experience, of being “irresponsible” for coming to court and not being as knowledgeable as he said she should be.

Sky’s Alex Crawford, at the hearing at the High Court in Pretoria, said: “The prosecutor appears to be trying to portray Ms Vergeer as a slapdash ignoramus with unreliable and biased conclusions.”

The court also heard yesterday that Pistorius offered Ms Steenkamp’s family 375,000 rand (£21,305) as compensation after already making a number of monthly payments to them.

Mr Nel said the Steenkamps rejected the lump sum – which they called “blood money” – and had decided to hand back the other payments.

 

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