Pistorius Defense: South African Prisons Can’t Accommodate an Amputee


The drama in the Pistorius trial continued on the fourth day of sentencing proceedings, as the defense questioned the ability of the South African prison system to accommodate someone like Oscar Pistorius, whose legs were amputated at birth. The court heard testimony that Pistorius would be especially vulnerable to prison rape.

On September 12, Judge Thokozile Masipa found Pistorius guilty of the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp, but not guilty of her murder. The penalties for the offense range from a fine to fifteen years in prison. The sentence ultimately imposed may be appealed by either the prosecution or the defense.

Kim Martin, a cousin of Steenkamp, testified that she was very fearful of Pistorius and urged that he should pay for what he had done. Pistorius has admitted firing shots through a locked bathroom door and killing Steenkamp, but he said he believed, mistakenly, that an intruder had entered his home. She was a 29-year-old model and law school graduate.

The Pistorius defense is asking that the judge sentence him to community service and house arrest. The sentencing hearing will continue on October 17.