In Pistorius sentencing, a debate over remorse and mental health

South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius leaves the Pretoria High Court after a sentencing hearing set to send him back to jail for depression, anxiety and stress and is not able to testify at his sentencing for murdering his girlfriend.

Pistorius, who competed in the 400 metres at the London 2012 Olympic Games, was convicted at the end of a year ago of killing Steenkamp in 2013 after firing four times through a locked toilet door.

In December previous year, the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned his culpable homicide conviction.

The minimum punishment for murder in South Africa is 15 years in jail.

The hearing is expected to last five days.

Mr. Pistorius, a former gun hobbyist, has sold all his guns and is traumatized even by the sound of gunshots in movies, Mr. Scholtz said. He has maintained that he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder.

Referring to the results of a psychiatric diagnosis test, Prof Scholtz said the former athlete's spirituality had deepened since his conviction and that he never wants to handle a firearm again.

Nel asked Scholtz whether, during his compilation of his report on Pistorius, he had access to correctional services documents indicating his temper tantrums.

In his testimony, the psychologist had described Pistorius as despondent and forgetful, and said further imprisonment for the convicted murderer would not be "psychologically or socially constructive".

Defence witness Dr Jonathan Scholtz said Pistorius was suffering from "major depression".

Original trial judge Thokozile Masipa began hearing pre-sentencing arguments at Pretoria High Court yesterday, with Pistorius expected to discover his fate by the end of the week.

He questioned why it was too stressful for Pistorius to testify in court, when he had recently appeared on a television network making comments about the trial.

Pistorius, 29, killed Ms Steenkamp in February 2013 after firing four times through a locked toilet door.

Oscar Pistorius is a broken man who has suffered like an "animal in a cage", a psychologist has told a South African court.

Experts believe many factors, including his "fragile mental health" will reduce Oscar's possible time in prison, but that a custodial sentence is nearly unavoidable.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel disputed doctor's claims that Pistorius is depressed.

"He has a firm offer of employment from a company Twin City Development to oversee their early childhood development programme as project manager".

Pistorius won six Paralympic gold medals and was the first double-amputee runner to compete at the Olympic Games.

Pistorius served one year in prison and was released in October 2015 under house arrest.



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