Pistorius' fate to be decided today

Pistorius' fate to be decided today

South Africa's fallen star Oscar Pistorius could be jailed for 10 years or return to serve house arrest on Tuesday when he will be sentenced for killing model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

In her decision, Judge Thokozile Masipa has to balance the threat the Paralympic gold medallist poses to society against his likelihood of rehabilitation and eventual re-introduction to public life.

Acquitted of murder, Pistorius was found guilty last month of culpable homicide, a conviction whose penalty -- which ranges from a fine to 15 years behind bars -- is at the sole discretion of the judge.

Last week Pistorius' lawyers argued that the 27-year-old should be sentenced to three years correctional supervision, which is also known as house arrest. He would then do 16 hours of community service a month, suggested the defence.

In an eloquent closing argument, defence lawyer Barry Roux said Pistorius is an ideal candidate for a non-custodial sentence given his remorse, his status as a first-time offender and the fact he would be "vulnerable" in South Africa's notoriously brutal jails.  Roux said Pistorius is a "broken man" who has "genuine remorse" after shooting Steenkamp through a toilet door on Valentine's Day morning last year.

As his lawyer chronicled how Pistorius has lost his friends and fortune, the sprinter wept in the dock, wiping tears off his face with a handkerchief. Pistorius's brother and sister on Monday gave a string of television interviews, saying the trial had been damaging for everyone. "It's obvious we can't speculate what the outcome will be tomorrow," said older brother Carl Pistorius. "It has been a taxing 20 months ... and no doubt tomorrow will also be difficult," he added.

It was the first time Carl and younger sister Aimee have spoken publicly since the fatal shooting. Aimee said the family had struggled to come to terms with Steenkamp's death. "It's important for us that they (Steenkamp's family) know that she was very much cared for and loved and accepted as part of our family in the short time that she was with us," Aimee said.

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