Oscar Pistorius, also known as “The Blade Runner”, is broke after his murder trial, according to his defense lawyer Barry Roux. Roux said that he does not even have enough funds to cover his legal expenses from the trial. He recently sold his car for 375,000 Rands, which is worth approximately $33,000. His financial struggles became a focal point on Friday, as both the prosecution and defense argued their final case before court adjourned.
Gerrie Nel, the chief prosecutor in this case, suggested that Pistorius tried to influence the sentence in his case by paying 6000 Rands, which is worth approximately $530, to June and Barry Steenkamp, the parents of the girlfriend that he killed, Reeva Steenkamp. The payments were revealed this past week, after the Steenkamps claimed that they would stay on the sidelines and remain neutral during the sentencing, opting not to testify. Nel was saddened to learn that the parents had accepted this money, but said that they had little choice, since they were struggling financially. Since then, their financial situation has improved, and they plan to pay back the total amounts of the payments made to them, which totaled approximately $9,000. He questioned why these payments had been made between the time of conviction and the sentencing, effectively insinuating that Pistorius was trying to unlawfully sway the sentencing to be more lenient towards him. He also reminded the court that he had been charged with illegally firing a gun in a public place while he was at a restaurant early in 2013, just weeks before he killed his girlfriend. Nel said that Pistorius should never again be allowed to possess a firearm, and he urged the judge to send him to jail for 10 years.
The defense team for Pistorius wants a softer sentence, aiming for community service and house arrest, which Nel suggested was unbelievably disproportionate to the seriousness of the crime. According to Barry Roux, Oscar Pistorius is a broken man in every way after the trial, including financially. He suggested that his client had lost everything, going from an inspiration and icon during the Olympic Games in London two years ago, to being vilified as a scheming murderer since. Roux argued that Pistorius had not acted in a deviant manner or schemed to kill his girlfriend. Instead, Roux suggested, he had acted while under extreme anxiety and had made an honest, if tragic, mistake. He reminded the court that his client is a first-time offender, and asked the judge to place herself in the position of Pistorius on that fateful night before sentencing the former Olympic athlete.
It is believed that Judge Thokozile Masipa will deliver the sentence this Tuesday. During the sentencing hearing, both Barry Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius were visibly emotional. Roux suggested to the judge that since the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp, Pistorius had gone through a lot of suffering, and that he had earned absolutely no money since.
Oscar Pistorius is both broke and broken after the trial in which he was found guilty of culpable homicide, according to his defense lawyer, Barry Roux, even though he did manage to escape the more serious charges of murder. He now faces sentencing, which Judge Masipa is expected to announce later this week.
By Charles Bordeau
Photo by Will Clayton – Flickr