Oscar Pistorius should mop floors two days a month for the next three years to pay for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a legal team for the fallen “Blade Runner” recommended Monday.
The “shockingly inappropriate” recommendation, along with house arrest, was offered up Monday as a sentence for the Olympian’s conviction of culpable homicide as witnesses testified at the North Gauteng High Court.
South African Correctional Services social worker Joel Maringa gave his report to the court, saying he believed Pistorius should not “be destroyed” and the focus should be on rehabilitation rather than retribution.
But pit bull prosecutor Gerrie Nel told Maringa his recommendation was “shockingly inappropriate” for the severity of the crime committed.
On several occasions Nel confronted Maringa, asking if he read the judgment, with Maringa fumbling his answers and at one time confusing the firearm charge with the culpable homicide conviction.
Maringa admitted he didn’t know Pistorius had used Black Talon ammunition, nor that four bullets were fired, but said he read “somewhere that he didn’t mean to shoot the deceased.”
MARCO LONGARI/POOL/EPA The Olympian (l.) was in court Monday as his sentence for the crime was debated. MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images Pistorius (l.) is greeted by an unidentified woman at the end of his sentencing hearing at the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.
Nel seized on the moment, saying “No, you are wrong. That is not what the judgment says. Did you even read the judgment?”
Maringa suggested that an appropriate punishment for Pistorius would be 16 hours of community service — performed at the Transvaal Museum or Little Company of Mary hospital in Pretoria — where Pistorius would be doing “cleaning duties.”
He further said Pistorius should be placed under house arrest at his uncle’s house — a 24-room mansion in the upper class suburb of Waterkloof, home to many embassies and diplomats, including the U.S. ambassador — and that he should be allowed to continue with his career as an athlete.
“But the judgment says he was grossly negligent, surely you should have taken the seriousness of the crime into account,” Nel said.
“I did, but he was not convicted of murder, but of culpable homicide,” Maringa added. Culpable homicide is the equivalent of manslaughter in South African law.
Eventually Nel threw up his hands in frustration, telling Maringa he had based his findings on the wrong set of facts before letting him go.
Earlier the court heard from Pistorius’ therapist Lore Hartzenberg, who told the court Pistorius was a “broken man” who had lost everything since the shooting.
“He has lost his love, he has lost his career, he has lost his friends and his earning potential,” Hartzenberg told the court.
She spoke of how she gave grief counseling to Pistorius and how some sessions were simply “him crying and me holding him,” while others had to be stopped because he couldn’t stop retching.
Hartzenberg was part of the defense’s submission that Pistorius should get a lighter sentence and possibly even correctional supervision rather than jail time.
The third witness of the day was Pistorius’ agent Peet van Zyl, who testified that Pistorius had lost all his sponsorship contracts because of the shooting, and continued to paint a picture of Pistorius as a man who did a lot of charity work, including for the Laureus Foundation, UNICEF and for sponsors Nike, Thierry Mugler and Oakley.
Prosecutors have said they will push for a harsh sentence for Pistorius, as he was grossly negligent in firing four times into a locked bathroom door which Steenkamp stood behind.
In South African law there is no minimum sentence for culpable homicide and it is entirely in the hands of the judge, but a maximum sentence of 15 years can be given.
Judge Thokozile Masipa could also impose a fine, a suspended sentence or community service if she feels it appropriate.