The Paralympian was also given a three-year suspended term by judge Thokozile Masipa for an unrelated firearms charge after shooting a gun in a restaurant.
While both parties have the right to appeal, the Steenkamp and Pistorius camps have accepted the term handed down for the crime of culpable homicide after the double amputee was cleared of murder.
Pistorius wiped his eyes as he was led away with a sentence well short of the 10 years the prosecution had demanded but an advance on the house arrest and community service the defence argued for.
Pistorius’s lawyer Barry Roux expects the athlete to spend about 10 months behind bars and any remainder under house arrest while the prosecution’s Dup De Bruyn believes two years in jail is likely after saying “justice was served”.
Pistorius’s uncle Arnold, the family spokesman throughout the trial, said: “We accept the judgment. Oscar will embrace the opportunity to pay back to society.”
While the defence argued Pistorius’s disability should be considered in sentencing, judge Masipa said the term was “fair and just, both to society and to the accused”.
The judge said there was an overemphasis on Pistorius’s needs and that prison can accommodate him. She also factored in his “contribution to society” through charity work.
She said: “A non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community. On the other hand, a long sentence would also not be appropriate either, as it would lack the element of mercy.”
“It would be a sad day for this country if an impression were to be created that there was one law for the poor and disadvantaged, and another for the rich and famous.”
The International Paralympic Committee says Pistorius won’t be permitted to compete in any official events for the full term of his sentence, regardless of early release.
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