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14.10.2014 South Africa

Pistorius presses bid to avoid jail at sentencing hearing

By Stephanie Findlay
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius (Front), surrounded by policemen, journalists and onlookers, leaves the Pretoria Hight Court following his sentencing hearing on October 13, 2014.  By Mujahid Safodien (AFP)South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius (Front), surrounded by policemen, journalists and onlookers, leaves the Pretoria Hight Court following his sentencing hearing on October 13, 2014. By Mujahid Safodien (AFP)
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Pretoria (AFP) - Oscar Pistorius tried to show he is the ideal candidate for house arrest Tuesday, as the judge heard the final defence witnesses in the Paralympic gold medallist's sentencing hearing.

The star sprinter's longtime manager Peet van Zyl took the witness stand for the second day to outline Pistorius's charity work, an important component of the athlete's strategy to avoid serving time behind bars.

On Monday, prison official Joel Maringa recommended that 27-year-old Pistorius should receive three years "correctional supervision" through house arrest for fatally shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He should also clean a Pretoria museum for 16 hours a month, Maringa said.

Pistorius was found guilty last month of negligently killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day 2013.

The double amputee athlete was cleared of the more serious charge of murder.

His sentencing hearing, which began on Monday, is expected to run for most of the week.

The so-called "Blade Runner" could face up to 15 years in prison, or could dodge a jail term altogether with a non-custodial sentence.

The state has indicated it will call at least two witnesses, whose testimony is expected to finish on Wednesday or Thursday.

Judge Thokozile Masipa will likely make her decision on Friday, a state source told AFP.

Both the state and defence then have 14 days to appeal Judge Masipa's decision.

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