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I wonder why judge was so lenient on rich, white Pistorius

As I see it

By Holly Baxter

It's hard to feel like justice was truly served in the South African courtroom this week where Oscar Pistorius had his sentence extended by one year after his original conviction for manslaughter was changed to murder.

Pistorius, whose original five-year sentence translated in reality into 10 months in prison followed by house arrest in his uncle's luxury home, certainly won't spend six years behind bars now: time served and "good behaviour" will be taken into consideration. He could easily be out within a year.

Pistorius' courtroom drama seemed to have very little to do with Reeva Steenkamp, the woman he shot dead through a toilet door.

Instead, Pistorius's defence team carefully crafted a sob story for a vulnerable man who kept fatal weapons and fired them repeatedly at people in the dark without warning because... well, wouldn't you if you were in the same position?

In reality, the trial of Oscar Pistorius fits so snugly into our cultural narrative: promising sports star and/or millionaire violently assaults a woman, seems awfully sorry when he gets pulled up on it, shouldn't have his ambitions and his ability stifled by the inconvenient truth, gets away with it all as close to scot-free as possible.

Pistorius has slinked off to serve his slightly amended six-year sentence in a country where one man recently went down for 77 years for murder and "rhino horn theft". Meanwhile, we are left with little more than the words of Jacqui Mofokeng from the African National Congress women's league: "The judgment is an insult to women."

It's an insult we saw coming a mile off, that increasingly mundane insult to which we have all become accustomed.

But we owe Reeva Steenkamp and women everywhere our outrage today, however subdued and demoralised we might well feel.

Belfast Telegraph


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