A beautiful love story came to an end with a very unfortunate note. No one knows what exactly happened on that day. Even, one cannot imagine how the couple landed in such a painful scenario. With various legal arguments, if one has to believe, then Pistorius, 29, killed Steenkamp in the early morning of Valentine’s Day. He insisted that he thought she was an intruder behind the door of a toilet cubicle in his home. The prosecution said Pistorius shot Ms Steenkamp during an argument. Justice Leach said regardless of who might have been behind the door, Pistorius should have known someone could be killed if he fired. Under the concept of “dolus eventualis” in South African law, a person can be convicted of murder if they foresaw the possibility of someone dying through their actions and went ahead anyway. A date for Pistorius’s new sentencing will be announced in the city of Pretoria, where he had been tried and imprisoned. Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp was a South African model.
Pistorius, a young man overcomes huge physical disabilities to reach Olympian heights as an athlete. He meets a young woman of great natural beauty and a successful model. Romance blossoms and then ironically, on Valentine’s Day, all is destroyed when he takes her life. Pistorius could receive between 15 and 20 years for murder, although his sentence already served will be deducted. Under South African law, he will serve at least half of the sentence issued. It is also understood that Pistorius has one more possible avenue of appeal – the Constitutional Court. The judgement of this court is based on the constitution and is required to consider international human rights.
Pistorius, a multiple Paralympic champion, became one of the world’s most famous athletes and the first amputee to run at the Olympics and the able-bodied world championships. He was known as “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fibre running blades. The case has prompted a fierce debate in a country beset by high levels of violent crime. Some rights groups say the white track star – dubbed “Blade Runner” because of the carbon fibre prosthetic blades he uses to race – got preferential treatment. Although, both of Pistorius’ legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old, he has competed in events for single below-knee amputees and for able-bodied athletes. After becoming a Paralympic champion, Pistorius attempted to enter able-bodied international competition, over persistent objections of the IAAF and charges that his artificial limbs gave an unfair advantage. Pistorius eventually prevailed in this legal dispute. At the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, Pistorius became the first amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Pistorius became the first double leg amputee to participate in the Olympics when he entered the men’s 400 metres and 4 × 400 metres relay races. At the 2012 Summer Paralympics, Pistorius won gold medals in the men’s 400-metre race and in the 4 × 100 metres relay, setting world records in both events. He also bagged silver in the 200-metre race, having set a world record in the semifinal.
On Valentine’s Day 2013, Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend in his Pretoria home. At his trial the following year, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide. He received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide and a concurrent three-year suspended prison sentence for a separate reckless endangerment conviction. In November 2014, prosecutors asked the sentencing judge for permission to appeal the verdict. Permission was granted in December, and the case was presented to a five-person panel at the Supreme Court of Appeal. His release from prison to house arrest was announced on 21 August 2015. On 15 October 2015, it was confirmed that Pistorius was to be released from prison on 20 October 2015, however, he was released on 19 October 2015. On December 3, 2015, a South African appeals court overturned Pistorius’ culpable homicide conviction and found him guilty of murder in the death of Reeva Steenkamp. His new sentence will be decided when the high court reconvenes in mid-January, 2016.
Inputs from various agencies.