Monday, November 29, 2021

Pistorius ready for parole, but must meet victim’s parents

Cape Town, South Africa (AP) — Eight years after shooting his girlfriend to death, Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius is up for parole, but must first visit his parents.

Pistorius, a world-renowned double-amputee athlete who competed in the 2012 Olympics, has been eligible for parole since July, when he was convicted of murder for shooting model Reva Steenkamp multiple times through the toilet door at his home on Valentine’s Day 2013 Was.

Pistorius was convicted of murder in 2015 and eventually sentenced to 13 years and five months in jail. After serving half his sentence, he became eligible for parole under South African law.

A parole hearing for Pistorius was scheduled last month and was then canceled, partly because a meeting had not been arranged between Pistorius and Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June, lawyers for both sides. told The Associated Press on Monday.

Pistorius’ attorney Julian Knight said Correctional Department officials had scheduled a parole hearing for October, but it was called off when a full report of Pistorius’ time in prison was not available. A new hearing date has not yet been set, Knight said.

In addition, Barry and June Steenkamp want a one-on-one meeting with Pistorius before considering his early release from prison, as is their right under South Africa’s victim-criminal dialogue policy. Steenkamps has previously said that they want to challenge Pistorius about why he shot his daughter and that they will get to do so, in which victim-criminal meetings are aimed at some sort of closure for the families of victims of the crimes.

“They (Barry and June) think Reeva has found a voice. They are Reeva’s voice, and they are indebted to their beloved daughter,” said Steenkamps attorney Tania Coen.

Steenkamps will also be allowed to make recommendations to the parole board, although Coen would not say whether he would oppose Pistorius’ release.

“We have discussed it,” Coen said, but declined to provide details.

The opinion of the victims’ families is considered by the parole board when deciding whether to release the offender, but it is not the only criterion.

Pistorius, 34, may have been imprisoned for a victim-offender meeting at the Aterridgeville Correctional Center in the capital Pretoria, from where the Steinkamps’ home town of Gakerbera (formerly Port Elizabeth) was held, as Coen said in Barry Steenkamp’s own Unable to travel due to health.

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Knight, Pistorius’ attorney, said it could be “out there” but the Department of Corrections would decide. Knight said he expects the meeting between Pistorius and Steenkamps, which should take place before the parole hearing, could happen by the end of the year.

Coen said it was a “huge surprise” for Steenkamps when corrections services officials contacted him last month to say Pistorius was eligible for parole. He believed he would be eligible only in 2023, she said.

“(It) opens up a lot of wounds, or rips off the ointment applied to those wounds,” Coen said.

Confusion over when he would qualify stems from the lengthy and lengthy murder trial of Pistorius and two subsequent appeals by prosecutors. Pistorius was tried in 2014, and it was only in 2018 that his case was finalized.

The multiple Paralympic champion was initially found guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder—a crime similar to manslaughter—for shooting Steenkamp with his licensed 9mm pistol. He claimed in his trial that it was a tragic accident and mistook him as a dangerous intruder.

Prosecutors appealed the murder investigation and secured the murder sentence. Pistorius was sentenced to six years in prison for the murder, but prosecutors appealed again for what he called a shockingly mild sentence for murder. The Supreme Court of Appeal more than doubled his sentence in 2017.

Knight later asked the Supreme Court for clarification on the sentence, to see whether Pistorius, already serving a sentence in prison, should count toward his parole. This happened, Knight said, meaning that Pistorius could have been considered for parole two years earlier, as the courts had initially indicated.

Knight said he believed Pistorius met the conditions for an early release.

“What I’ve seen of him is that he’s been a model prisoner while he’s in prison,” Knight said. “I am of the view that he meets the requirements to be placed on parole but there are procedures to be followed.”

Knight said that if Pistorius is released a parole board may impose a number of conditions, such as only being allowed to leave the house to go to work during the week, and grocery shopping for a limited time only on weekends. To buy stuff and attend church.

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