Oscar Pistorius in court for murder sentencing

 Oscar Pistorius appears at the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa (AP)

Oscar Pistorius appears at the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa (AP)

Oscar Pistorius is appearing in court in South Africa for sentencing after the double-amputee Olympian was convicted of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Defence lawyer Barry Roux argued for some leniency and called a psychologist who evaluated Pistorius to give evidence.

The clinical psychologist, Professor Jonathan Scholtz, said he did not think Pistorius would be able to give evidence at the sentencing hearings because he has psychological problems.

“His condition is severe,” Prof Scholtz said.

The psychologist, who interviewed Pistorius in 2014 during the runner’s murder trial, and again in May, also said of the latest assessments: “His mood was anxious and depressed.”

Prosecutors had depicted Pistorius as an arrogant figure with a sense of entitlement and a love of guns.

Dressed in a dark suit, Pistorius sat calmly on a bench as the hearing began in Pretoria on Monday.

The gallery was packed with relatives, journalists and other onlookers. Police officers lined the wood-panelled walls of the courtroom.

Hearings are expected to last several days before Judge Thokozile Masipa announces the sentence later in the week. The minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years in jail, though a judge can reduce that sentence in some circumstances.

It will be the second time Pistorius has been sentenced for the killing, following Judge Masipa’s earlier ruling in 2014 that he was guilty of the lesser charge of negligent homicide. An appeals court rejected that verdict and convicted Pistorius of murder.

The three-year legal saga that began with Ms Steenkamp’s fatal shooting in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 now appears to be nearing its end.

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About Cholo Brooks 14335 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.