According to reports, defense lawyers argued that Pistorius should be given a non-custodial sentence including anger management workshops and community service but Judge Masipa noted that “deterrence and retribution” were cause enough for a prison sentence.
Further, Pistorius was originally convicted of “culpable homicide” and was handed a five-year jail sentence in September 2014, but an appeals court overruled the judgement, allowing him to serve a year in prison before going on house arrest.
Reports added that the judge received flak for delivering too lenient a sentence, as South Africa has a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for murder unless reasons are compelling enough to reduce the penalty.
Judge Masipa reportedly said that “substantial and compelling circumstances” did exist in the case of world-famous “Blade Runner” Pistorius, who the former also described as “a fallen hero.”
She added that she had anticipated the public’s reaction to the sentence, and said while reading her decision that “public opinion may be loud and persistent but it can play no role in this case.”
She continued that Pistorius was only trying to defend himself from what he believed was an intruder in the bathroom, therefore shooting through the door at the figure that was actually Steenkamp.
She clarified that he was “vulnerable” at the time, as he did not have his prosthetic legs on, and remains a “good candidate” for rehabilitation.
Reports state that the verdict sparked outrage on social media, with user Ellesandro Soares Chaves commenting that, “Six years is not long enough when you consider that he hasn’t even been honest about his motive for killing her… He is a murderer and a liar who can’t even own up to what he did and that behaviour should add years to his sentence and automatically disqualify him for any leniency.”
Further, social media users also attached the hashtag “white privilege” to their posts; and user Kenny Martin said that the verdict was “Disgusting. It’s almost as if Oscar Pistorius is a privileged white man in a deeply racist country.”