Oscar Pistorius Denied Parole by South African Board
Former Paralympic gold medalist and convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius will remain behind bars after a parole board denied his early release on March 31.
The South African authorities revealed that he had not yet served enough time to qualify for early release. Oscar Pistorius, 36, is serving 13 years for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in 2013.
The parole board met to hear evidence, including from Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp’s mother.
However, instead of giving a decision afterwards, embarrassed officials admitted their timings had been wrong.
Earlier this week, they had received, but ignored, a letter from South Africa’s top appeals court, which explained that Oscar Pistorius needed to spend another year and a half in prison before he could be considered for parole.
The hearing at Atteridgeville prison, a low-security facility in rolling fields just outside the city of Pretoria, should never have happened.
For weeks, officials had insisted the amputee former sprinter was eligible to apply for parole, having served half his sentence.
The confusion stems from the fact that Oscar Pistorius’s time in prison has been broken up by appeals and by a period of house arrest.
There is disagreement about where to draw the halfway line.
Oscar Pistorius’s family have expressed dismay and are seeking legal clarification.
It has been an emotional day for the Steenkamp family, who have welcomed the fact that Pistorius will not be yet be freed.
When June Steenkamp, Reeva’s mother, spoke to reporters before the hearing she said she opposed the release of her daughter’s killer: “I don’t believe Oscar is remorseful… or rehabilitated.”
The six-time Paralympic gold medallist has expressed his deep remorse for killing his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day in 2013, but continues to maintain he shot her by mistake, believing she was a robber.
Oscar Pistorius was initially found guilty of culpable homicide and given a six-year term. But prosecutors launched an appeal, arguing this was too lenient.
The sentence was increased to 13 years as he was then convicted of murder.
This verdict was based on the grounds that he must have known his actions – shooting three times through a locked bathroom door in his Pretoria home – would lead to the death of whoever was on the other side.
The televised trial of the man once dubbed “the Blade Runner”, because of the ground-breaking prosthetic legs he wore in both Paralympic and Olympic track races, attracted huge global attention.
According to the Department of Correctional Services in South Africa, Oscar Pistorius will be reconsidered for parole in August 2024.