Oscar Trial 21.10.2014 10:11 am

Oscar has excellent coping skills – Judge Masipa

Barry and June Steenkamp, parents of Reeva Steenkamp, arrive at the high court in Pretoria on Tuesday, 21 October 2014. Oscar Pistorius is to be sentenced today after being convicted of culpable homicide for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Picture: Herman Verwey/Media24/Pool

Barry and June Steenkamp, parents of Reeva Steenkamp, arrive at the high court in Pretoria on Tuesday, 21 October 2014. Oscar Pistorius is to be sentenced today after being convicted of culpable homicide for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Picture: Herman Verwey/Media24/Pool

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is vulnerable but he also has excellent coping skills, Judge Thokozile Masipa said on Tuesday.

“I heard witness after witness over-emphasising the accused’s vulnerability,” she said in the High Court in Pretoria during the athlete’s sentencing for the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

“Yes, the accused is vulnerable but he also has excellent coping skills… He really saw himself as disabled [but] worked hard….and became respected worldwide.”

She said Pistorius’s contribution to society had been enormous.

“He gave this time and money to charities… and changed the public’s perception of disabled people. This cannot be ignored and ought to be put into perspective,” said Masipa.

On September 12, Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide on for the Valentine’s Day 2013, shooting of Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse. The court found him not guilty of murdering Steenkamp.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through the locked door of the toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to emerge and attack him. She was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Pistorius was found guilty of firing a pistol under a table at Tasha’s restaurant in Johannesburg in January 2013. He was found not guilty of shooting through the open sunroof of a car in Modderfontein on September 30, 2012, and of illegal possession of ammunition.

– Sapa

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