Oscar Pistorius is on probation and could be released this week

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Former Olympic champion Oscar Pistorius has applied for parole and is expected to attend a hearing on Friday to decide whether he can be released from prison 10 years after the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by he shot her several times through a toilet door in his house.

Pistorius, convicted of murder in Steenkamp’s 2013 Valentine’s Day murder, could leave Atteridgeville Correctional Center in Pretoria on Friday if his parole is granted, although the Department of Corrections said the trial could take days to complete, if his application is successful.

Barry and June Steenkamp, ​​Reeva’s parents, have said they oppose Pistorius’ release and will be allowed to speak at his parole board hearing. Reporting by a victim’s family is one of many factors that will be considered.

“He’s a killer. He should stay in prison,” Barry Steenkamp said in an interview with Britain’s Daily Mail published last month to mark the 10th anniversary of his daughter’s murder.

The Department of Corrections declined to give details about Pistorius’ hearing, saying it was “an internal matter” like any other parole hearing.

According to the guidelines, the panel will consider the offense for which Pistorius was convicted, his conduct and disciplinary records while in custody, whether he has attended any educational or other training, his mental and physical condition, whether he was likely “to become involved in crime.” falls behind”. and the risk it poses to the public.

PHOTOS: Oscar Pistorius eligible for parole, could be released this week

Of all the factors, legal expert Neo Mashele said that “in general, the offender’s behavior is the most important consideration.”

Pistorius’ parole attorney, Julian Knight, previously said Pistorius was a “model prisoner”. Knight did not respond to requests for comment this week. Neither does a lawyer for the Steenkamps.

Pistorius, now 36, was eventually convicted of murder after prosecutors appealed an initial conviction of involuntary manslaughter, which is akin to manslaughter. He was eventually sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison for murder in 2017, again after prosecutors appealed for a lighter sentence.

Offenders in South Africa convicted of serious crimes must serve at least half of their sentence before being considered for parole. Pistorius has done so after considering the time he has spent in prison since late 2014 while the appeals in his case were being heard.

A number of options are available to the parole board: Pistorius could be paroled, or placed on day parole, where he would be allowed to live and work in the community during the day, but would have to return to prison at night. He could also be placed under correctional supervision, meaning he would be released but would have to spend part of his time in a correctional facility during the week.

Pistorius’ parole could be denied, with the board usually encouraging the offender to reapply at a later date.

A double amputee runner and multiple Paralympic champion who was once hailed as an inspirational figure, Pistorius’ murder trial and downfall captivated the world. His crime eventually led to his being sent to the Kgosi Mampuru II maximum security prison, one of South Africa’s most notorious.

He was transferred to Atteridgeville Prison in 2016 because that facility is better suited to disabled prisoners. Pistorius had both lower legs amputated as a baby and walks with prosthetic limbs.

There were glimpses of his life in prison, with reports claiming he eventually grew a beard, gained weight and started smoking, and was unrecognizable from the elite athlete who competed against able-bodied runners on his carbon-fibre blades London 2012 Olympic Games.

He has spent much of his time working in an area of ​​the prison grounds that grows vegetables and sometimes driving a tractor. His father, Henke Pistorius, said in a 2018 interview that he runs Bible classes for other inmates.

There were flashes of anger too. Pistorius was injured in an altercation with another inmate over a payphone in 2017. A year earlier, Pistorius was being treated for injuries to his wrists, which his family denied because he harmed himself.

Pistorius has been seeking parole since 2021, but a hearing earlier this year was canceled in part because he had yet to meet with Barry and June Steenkamp in a process known as victim-offender dialogue. It is required in South Africa – if victims or their families wish to meet – before an offender can be considered for parole.

Pistorius claims he accidentally shot 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp with his licensed 9mm pistol because he believed her to be a dangerous intruder. He met her father in person last year at a meeting that convinced Barry Steenkamp Pistorius should not be released, he said in the Daily Mail interview.

“I told Oscar directly that he shot my daughter on purpose and he denied it,” Steenkamp said. “He stuck to his story that he thought it was an intruder. After all these years, we’re still waiting for him to admit he did it out of anger. That’s all we wanted.”

“If he had told me the truth,” Steenkamp said, “I would have let the law run on his parole.”

Source : www.washingtontimes.com

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