Oscar Pistorius is a double amputee. In case the Court forgot because he is often seen with his prosthetic legs, the paralympian walked on stumps on Wednesday to show how vulnerable he would be in jail if committed to a long sentence.
The 29-year-old faces a minimum 15-year jail term for the 2013 killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, for which state prosecutors claim he has shown no remorse. Steenkamp’s father had on Tuesday urged the South African High Court to punish Pistorius for murdering his daughter. “Oscar has to pay for what he did,” Barry Steenkamp had said.
Pistorius insists he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired four shots through a locked toilet door in his home, killing her.
The lower part of the athlete’s legs were amputated when he was a baby. To show how difficult it must have been for his clients while dealing with the threat of an intruder, Barry Roux asked Pistorius to walk in the court on his stumps. He wiped tears from his face as he stood for about five minutes.
“The accused was vulnerable because of his disability,” Roux said. He asked for a non-custodial sentence that included community service for Pistorius.
Matching Roux in what looked like a game of evoking emotion, prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked that the court display photos of Steenkamp’s head and torso covered with her own blood after the shooting.
Judge Thokozile Masipa originally convicted Pistorius of manslaughter. In December, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that he was guilty of murder, citing “errors of law” in the first verdict. The resentencing hearing commenced on Monday.