Oscar Pistorius should not go to jail over the killing of Reeva Steenkamp, his sentencing hearing has been told.
A probation officer appearing for the defense said Oscar Pistorius should serve house arrest and community service.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel described the suggestion as “shockingly inappropriate”.
Oscar Pistorius, 27, was found guilty of the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp last month – but was cleared of murder.
The decision was criticized by the victim’s family.
Oscar Pistorius faces up to 15 years in jail, although Judge Thokozile Masipa may suspend the sentence or impose a fine.
Judge Thokozile Masipa said the Paralympic champion had acted “negligently” when he shot his girlfriend through a toilet door, but had genuinely thought her to be an intruder.
At the sentencing hearing, Joel Maringa, a prison service officer summoned by the defense, said Pistorius should perform community service and receive three years of house arrest rather than imprisonment.
“The accused will benefit from correctional supervision,” Joel Maringa said, adding that this will give him an “opportunity to restructure and modify his behavior”.
“We are basically not saying that he should be destroyed because he will still be coming back into the community,” he said.
Gerrie Nel described Joel Maringa’s suggestions as “shockingly inappropriate”, adding that they would amount to “no sentence”. He questioned whether Joel Maringa understood the gravity of Oscar Pistorius’ crime.
Reeva Steenkamp’s father, Barry, held his head in his hands as Joel Maringa spoke, while her friends shook their heads in disbelief.
The sentencing hearing, which has now been adjourned, is expected to last several days.
Lawyers for Oscar Pistorius are hoping they can prevent a jail sentence.
His psychologist, Lore Hartzenberg, was the first defense witness to speak at the sentencing hearing.
She described Oscar Pistorius as a “broken man” after the killing. She said he was “very emotional” during grief therapy sessions, which were often disrupted by his weeping and retching.
Gerrie Nel said it was “very strange” that Lore Hartzenberg was “avoiding” answering questions about Oscar Pistorius having a new relationship.
Lore Hartzenberg said Oscar Pistorius had never mentioned a new girlfriend in the therapy sessions. She said she had only heard about the relationship from reports in the press.
The Paralympic sprinter had strenuously denied murdering Reeva Steenkamp after a row on Valentine’s Day in 2013, saying he shot her by mistake.
Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, was hit three times by bullets shot through a toilet door by Oscar Pistorius at his home in the capital, Pretoria.
The parents of Reeva Steenkamp said “justice was not served” after Oscar Pistorius was acquitted of murder.
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