Nel wants no undue sympathy for Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius is greeted by his father, Henke, at the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday, October 21 2014. Picture: Herman Verwey/Media24/Pool

The senior state prosecutor called for the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years for murder for the former track star.

The North Gauteng High Court should not be unduly sympathetic when sentencing Oscar Pistorius for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp, the state argued on Wednesday.

Senior state prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court that Pistorius had lived in the hospital wing of the prison where he spent a year behind bars.

“It was not solitary confinement of 18 hours a day,” as psychologist Jonathan Scholtz testified earlier this week, he added.

“We have an accused who was in a wing with one other prisoner, had access to a makeshift gym and that could walk around.”

He is calling for the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years for murder for the former track star who fell from grace when he gunned down Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day three years ago.

Earlier on Wednesday he had said he wanted to emphasise two aspects: “Since minimum legislation was accepted, it’s no longer business as usual. And, My Lady, the court does not start on a clean slate. The clean slate starts at 15 years”.

He further told the court that “if the benchmark is 15 years, correctional supervision is not even close”.

Pistorius was composed during Nel’s arguments, despite weeping openly earlier on Wednesday when he was asked to demonstrate his vulnerability by removing his prostheses and walking around the court room on his stumps by his defence lawyer.

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