Lying in the Sun

Five Years or 10 Months?

Pistorius - Five Years or Ten Months?

I posted a blog on Sunday - 'Pistorius the Sentence' - an interview by Sky News with S. African Lawyer Mannie Witz where he explained the sentence options open to Judge Masipa.

This morning Judge Masipa sentenced Oscar Pistorius to a custodial sentence of five years under Section 276/1 (i) the Criminal Procedures Act , Number 51 of 1977 - (on Count 1,culpable homicide.)

But what does this actually mean?

If we look at what Mannie Witz had to say regarding Section 276/1 (i) of the Criminal Procedure Act 1977:

"... that is Section 276/1 (i) which is a maximum of 5 years but what it means is, you have to go into prison for a minimum of 1/6 of your sentence, which is 10 months direct imprisonment.  Thereafter it can be converted, the balance of the sentence, to corrective supervision, house arrest , various programmes and community service." 

It is looking very likely with the imposed sentence that Oscar Pistorius will NOT serve 5 years imprisonment, but 10 months!

Mannie Witz also made mention of the appeals system.

Defence and Prosecution are both able to appeal within 14 days.

  • Witz had this to say about any appeal by the Defence:

"So I’ve got NO DOUBT if it is a sentence of direct imprisonment  the Defence will definitely appeal.  I don’t think they want their client to spend any time behind bars."  

  • And of the Prosecution he had this to say:

"And the other problem of course if there is direct imprisonment, I have no doubt that the State, Gerrie Nel will apply to have the bail withdrawn, and now he will have a stronger bow in his arrow  by saying - look now he’s got a direct sentence of imprisonment he’s got a bigger reason to flee and be a flight risk, and he might as well start serving his sentence now, and I don’t think another Court would overturn or impose  a fully suspended or non- custodial sentence. So there’s a lot still that’s going to happen on Tuesday."

Barry Roux the Defence Team did not look overly concerned at the sentence, in fact his smile gave an indication what Mannie Witz said is most likely correct:

"So I’ve got NO DOUBT if it is a sentence of direct imprisonment  the Defence will definitely appeal.  I don’t think they want their client to spend ANY TIME behind bars."  

When asked on leaving Court about the sentence, Barry Roux' spokeswoman would not be drawn on this (appeal) other than to say:

"Let's explain what Section 276/1 (i) means and it's basically that he's gonna serve 1/6 of his sentence and then he'll come out on house arrest..."

The spokeswoman confirmed that 1/6 of his sentence would be TEN MONTHS!

Will Pistorius spend 10 months in prison?

More importantly will Pistorius even spend ONE night behind bars, as Mannie Witz stated the Defence will NOT want their client to spend ANY time behind bars?

And as Witz also said:

"There's a lot still to come, appeals, cross appeals..."

Looks as though Mannie Witz is right - Barry Roux was much too happy looking, his triumphant and confident smile a clear indication that the Defence would be appealing the sentence?

Still more to come on this case as he said?

The Prosecution spokesperson stated that they will consider whether to appeal - that is an appeal against the conviction of culpable homicide, he was NOT speaking of appeal against the sentence given based on the the conviction of culpable homicide.
21st October 2014
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