Oscar Pistorius, the former Paralympian convicted of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, has appealed for parole to the Constitutional Court of South Africa.
His attorney, Julian Knight, argues that Pistorius has served the required minimum sentence for early release.
However, a parole board had previously rejected his application, claiming he hadn’t fulfilled the minimum sentence requirement.
Pistorius is set to become eligible for parole in August 2024, which is 16 months away from his current bid for release.
Dispute Over Parole Eligibility
The Department of Correctional Services announced that the parole board had denied Oscar Pistorius’s parole application on March 31.
The board stated that he hadn’t served the necessary portion of his sentence, as stipulated by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
In South African law, inmates must serve at least half of their sentence before they can be considered for parole.
Pistorius’s family and his attorney contest this interpretation, asserting that the parole board and the SCA have miscalculated the dates.
Constitutional Court Appeal
Julian Knight has submitted legal documents to the Constitutional Court, arguing that Pistorius’s time already served in prison before becoming eligible for parole was unjustly disregarded.
Pistorius himself claims that the parole board’s decision is “incorrect” and infringes upon his fundamental rights.
The court date for the Constitutional Court appeal has yet to be determined.
DCS Opposes Parole Decision
While Reeva Steenkamp’s family has chosen not to oppose Pistorius’s parole application, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) has filed an opposition notice.
The National Prosecuting Authority’s involvement remains uncertain at this point.
Chronology of Conflicting Dates
Oscar Pistorius was initially convicted of culpable homicide in 2014, which was later upgraded to murder in 2015.
His prison sentence was initially six years, but the SCA increased it to 13 years and five months in 2017.
The confusion over parole eligibility dates back to November 2022 when his application was revoked due to discrepancies in the starting date of his sentence.
Pistorius’s attorney received directives from the SCA, asserting that the sentence should be antedated to 2014.
This would have made him eligible for parole in February 2021.
However, Atteridgeville prison, where Pistorius was incarcerated, insisted he became eligible in March 2023.
Despite his legal team’s efforts, Pistorius’s parole bid was denied again on March 31, 2023.
The SCA’s clarification order, issued just before his parole hearing, determined that his murder sentence began in November 2017, disregarding time already spent in jail.
Pistorius’s family and lawyer maintain that his sentence started in July 2016.
Oscar Pistorius’s next opportunity for parole is now in August 2024.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn