A prosecutor told a court on Monday, in Pretoria that Oscar Pistorius has shown no remorse for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, while a psychologist described him as “a broken man” who should not be jailed.
The 29-year-old Paralympic gold medalist, faced a minimum 15-year jail term after his original manslaughter conviction for the 2013 killing was upgraded.
The case has prompted a fierce debate in a country beset by high levels of violent crime. Some rights groups have said the white athlete has received preferential treatment.
Professor Jonathan Scholtz, a Psychologist called by Pistorius’ lawyer Barry Roux, told the court that the athlete at times sat with his head in his hands. Scholtz said he was on medication for depression, anxiety and insomnia.
“One would describe him as broken. In my opinion his current condition warrants hospitalisation. Since 2013, he becomes traumatised when he hears the sound of gunfire and never wants to touch a firearm again,” he said.
Scholtz said Pistorius was once assaulted while in jail, but the Prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, rejected this, saying the complaint register in which Pistorius often raised issues had no report of such an incident.
He told the hearing, which was attended by Steenkamp’s mother, that Pistorius had suffered financially and found asking others for assistance humiliating.
“Pistorius lost millions of dollars in endorsements and sponsorships after reaching the pinnacle of his fame in London 2012, when he became the first double amputee to run in the Olympics, reaching the 400 metres semi-finals. Pistorius had enrolled in a correspondence course for a degree at the London School of Economics and had been offered a job with a charity working with children in Africa,” he said.
The Prosecutor, however, questioned Scholtz’s assertion that Pistorius was not fit to testify, saying the athlete had given a TV interview. The hour-long interview with Britain’s ITV is due to air this month, local media have reported.
Nel told the court that Pistorius shown no remorse for the murder, and that he only “feels sorry for himself”. He said Pistorius had temper tantrums and, while serving his sentence, once banged a table when he got upset with a nurse.
Nel also disputed a claim by the psychologist that Pistorius was traumatised after he saw a prisoner who had hanged himself, saying it was unlikely that he could have seen the victim.
Pistorius initially received a five-year sentence for culpable homicide, South Africa’s equivalent of manslaughter, for shooting Steenkamp through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria home.
He had argued he mistook her for an intruder.
Luvuyo Mfaku, a Spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, said the position was “to argue for the prescribed sentence to be imposed, that is 15 years.
While the State prosecutors who lodged the appeal said Pistorius intended to kill Steenkamp and that the law graduate and model had fled to the toilet during an argument.
Report said outside the court, a group held up placards backing the athlete, one of them with the message: “Worldwide supporters of Oscar Pistorius”.
Members of the Women’s League of the ruling African National Congress party, who have attended the trial in support of the murdered Steenkamp clad in their green and black uniform, said Pistorius should face the prescribed sentence.
Spokeswoman for the League, Jacqueline Mofokeng, said what they are calling for is 15 years without parole. The final ruling on his sentence is expected by the end of this week.
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