August 2012 – Four-time Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius becomes the first amputee to compete at the Olympics at London 2012. The sporting idol makes history after coming second in his heat securing him a place in the semi-final where unfortunately his success ended. Nonetheless his campaign to run along able bodied athletes secured him a respected and memorable place in society.
February 14th 2013 – Idolised Oscar Pistorius is arrested on suspicion of killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria, South Africa. Reeva was found dead after being shot three times.
February 15th – Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius is formally charged with murder.
February 19th – The initial trial begins; Pistorius denies shooting Reeva but instead his defence claims he shot through the bathroom door under the impression it was an intruder. On the same day, Reeva’s funeral is held in Port Elizabeth.
February 22nd – Pistorius is granted bail by Magistrate Desmond Mair. His bail restrictions force him to hand over his passport and forfeit any weapons in his possession.
March 3rd – Oscar pleads not guilty to all charges against him as witnesses begin to stand in front of the court.
September 12th 2014 – After a lengthy trial, Pistorius is found not guilty of murder but guilty of culpable homicide more commonly recognised as manslaughter under British law. A conviction which the sentence warrant anything from community service to life imprisonment.
October 13th – Defence witnesses stand to the court where Joel Maringa recommends that the court consider house arrest and community service as a sufficient punishment for Pistorius. During cross examination prosecutor Gerrie Nell reinforces the fact that Pistorius fired four shots knowing there was someone behind the door testing Maringa’s understanding of the verdict. Maringa continues with his recommendations to the court, proposing three years correctional supervision to which Nell brands ‘shockingly inappropriate’.
October 14th – Day two of Oscar Pistorius’ sentencing hearing where prosector Gerrie Nell continues to cross examine the third defence witness. BBC correspondent Andrew Harding tweets suggesting Nel’s aggressive questioning techniques don’t work following the verdict in September. The fourth and final defence witness, Vergeer, says all prison will do is punish Pistorius ‘in a way that is not constructive’.
October 15th – Kim Martin, Reeva Steenkamp’s cousin stands as the first witness for the prosecution, also the first Steenkamp family witness in the entire trial. Martin states Pistorius ‘must pay for what he has done’ suggesting the proposed punishments would not fit the crime, therefore, suggesting she (and the family) desire a prison sentence.
October 16th – The remainder of witnesses stand for the prosecution and present their statements. The court is adjourned and as stated by BBC Africa Correspondent Andrew Harding Pistorius will be sentenced on Tuesday despite Jude Masipa stressing she was only available this week.
Tuesday 21st October 2014 – Oscar Pistorius is sentenced to five years imprisonment for the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Judge Thokozile Masipa also gave the Paralympic champion the three year suspended sentence for a firearms charge. The judge stressed when summarising the case that: “a non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community. On the other hand, a long sentence would also not be appropriate either, as it would lack the element of mercy.”
Following the sentence, questions have been raised about how long Pistorius will actually serve in prison with suggestions he may only be inside for ten months. Criticism circulated on social media with many saying he had been given a lenient sentence for the crime and it has sparked comments surrounding the underlying race issues still continuing to haunt South African society.
Photo Credits: AP