The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will this week approach the North Gauteng High Court to secure a date for convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius to appear in court for sentencing.
With an expected longer jailterm waiting for the the disgraced Paralympian, Pistorius had revealed to a friend his fears of returning to jail. He reportedly broke down during a phone call to boxer Kevin Lerena.
“I don’t want to go back to jail. It’s a terrible place, so disgusting you can’t imagine,” Lerena quoted Pistorius as saying.
Lerena apparently told the Daily Mail he was afraid Pistorius may “do something stupid” rather than return to prison.
Pistorius is in no-man’s land since his culpable homicide conviction was overturned in the Supreme Court of Appeals last week. Already on parole after he served less than a year for killing Reeva Steenkamp, Pistorius’s new murder conviction means his culpable homicide sentence was also overturned along with his parole conditions.
State prosecutors and defence lawyers have to decide on a date suitable to both teams which must fit into the schedule of Judge Thokozile Masipa, who, as the trial judge, must sentence the former athlete.
It’s expected a date in 2016 will be set aside. NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said the authority was trying to secure a date for as soon as possible.
No arrest warrant has been issued for Pistorius, despite claims to the effect. Criminal law attorney Zola Majavu said Masipa would deliver a sentence governed by law. A murder conviction carries a minimum sentence of 15 years. However, he may receive less.
“His defence must present exceptional circumstances in mitigation of sentence to secure a lesser sentence, while the state will argue for a harsh sentence,” said Majavu.
“Each case has its own merits and Pistorius’s defence will argue what’s relevant to him.” He said if Pistorius was unhappy with the sentence handed down by Masipa, he may appeal.
“He can appeal the sentence at the Supreme Court of Appeal if he is not happy with it and will then have to bring forward a bail application,” said Majavu. It’s most likely Pistorius will also bring forward a bail application at his next court appearance, likely to be this week.
It is understood the athlete will try and stay out of jail until he is sentenced. Mfaku would not comment if the state would oppose that bail application if brought forward.