Oscar Pistorius 'broke': Lawyer

PRETORIA - The sentencing hearing of Oscar Pistorius has heard that the South African athlete has no money left, as both sides' final arguments were made.

Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide last month after shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year, but was cleared of murder.

Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to deliver the sentence on Tuesday.

There is no legal limit on the length of a jail term, but the prosecution has argued for a minimum of 10 years.

Experts say the typical maximum sentence for the crime is around 15 years.

Pistorius' defence team has argued for him to be given community service and house arrest, a suggestion the prosecution said would be "shockingly disproportionate".

Both defence and prosecution lawyers finished presenting their final arguments before the court was adjourned.

The high-profile trial, which has captured public attention in South Africa and beyond, began in March.

Pistorius sobbed as defence lawyer Barry Roux said that the athlete no longer had any money after the trial, which has lasted more than seven months.

"He is not only broke but he is broken," he said.

"He's a first offender. What has happened to this man? He was on the rise," Mr Roux added.

The lawyer asked Judge Masipa to consider the South African principle of "ubuntu", roughly translated as kindness towards others, in her sentencing.

He also claimed that Pistorius would be unsafe in prison, a claim denied by the prisons chief on Thursday.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said that the minimum sentence "society would be happy with" would be 10 years in prison.

"I could have started at 15 and hoped that the court will suspend five, my Lady , but this is a serious matter," he said.

He also repeated criticism of a payment offer by Pistorius to the Steenkamp family.

"I cannot but think this is an attempt to influence," he said.

Reeva Steenkamp's family rejected a large lump sum offered by Pistorius.

However, they did accept smaller monthly support payments. They have since promised to repay the cash and not pursue a civil case.

Comments (2)


phillip - 17 October 2014


phillip - 17 October 2014

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