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Oscar Pistorius Sentencing – What can we expect?

On the morning of 14 February 2013 – Valentine’s Day – the news of Reeva Steenkamp’s death at the hand of Oscar Pistorius was on everyone’s lips. Soon newspapers and social media were flooded with articles, rumours, and speculation about what might have happened between the model and Olympic athlete. The trial which followed Reeva Steenkamp’s death would not only place Oscar Pistorius under scrutiny, but would receive media coverage of a scale unprecedented in South Africa. The trial, which started on 3 March 2014, was broadcast live on television, streamed on the internet on various news websites, and journalists like Mandy Wiener and Barry Bateman gave live updates on Twitter from inside the courtroom.

Oscar Pistorius was acquitted of the murder charge, but convicted of culpable homicide by Judge Thokozile Masipa on 12 September 2014. Social media erupted yet again at this news, with people from across the world airing their views on the judgement. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for the week of 13 October 2014 and, after testimonies have been heard, Judge Thokozile Masipa may postpone proceedings to deliberate before announcing Oscar Pistorius’ sentence. William Booth (a criminal law expert) explained on News24 that the sentence for culpable homicide (negligent killing) in South Africa range from a suspended sentence and fine to 15 years in prison. The sentence is given at the Judge’s discretion.

A number of books about Oscar Pistorius and this trial are also scheduled to be published or have been published. These books range from the sensationalist Oscar: An Accident Waiting to Happen by Melinda Ferguson and Patricia Taylor, to Behind the Door: The Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp Story by Mandy Wiener and Barry Bateman. Even after sentencing, we will probably still hear – and read – about the Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp for a long time to come.

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