Sydney: Anexpert believes that Paralympicrunner Oscar Pistorius might never spend another night in jail as the double amputee returns to court in Pretoria for sentencing on Friday.
Pistorius was cleared by Judge Thokozile Masipa of the premeditated murder of his girlfriend of four monthsReeva Steenkamp , but convicted of culpable homicide or manslaughter after a trial that lasted six months.
And on Friday Judge Masipa would reopen the case and call for submissions from both legal teams before retiring to decide what sentence to impose, News.com.au reported.
According to Dr. Llewelyn Curlewis, northern provinces president of the Law Society of South Africa, it is a process that could take weeks and would probably result in a non-custodial sentence.
Curlewis said that first the defence would have the opportunity to provide information on mitigating circumstances, and this could be a written submission, or defence advocate Barry Roux could call witnesses, including Pistorius. He added that the state would have the chance to cross-examine.
The doctor said that when the defence closes its case it would be the state's turn, adding that Prosecutor Gerrie Nel would present aggravating circumstances and may call witnesses, including family members of the deceased. He said Roux would be able to cross-examine.
Curlewis said that this would take several days and his own opinion is that the judge would then adjourn for one, two or three weeks to make her decision, taking into account the submissions and looking at comparable cases of culpable homicide.
The judge reportedly has two options, to impose direct imprisonment of up to 15 years, or non-custodial correctional supervision. Curlewis said that any custodial sentence of under eight years would be seen as very lenient, but you have to take into account that Pistorius is a first offender with no other offences or sanctions on his record.
The doctor said that there are numerous small sanctions that can be included within custodial supervision, such as home arrest, financial compensation to the victim, community service and he believes that the judge would order this because their prisons are overcrowded.
Curlewis reminded that culpable homicide is a negligent offence, not an intentional offence, and said that so on the facts presented in the case it could be argued that Pistorius is no threat to society.