Oscar Pistorius, the former Paralympic icon convicted for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, is set for a parole hearing this Friday, offering a chance for potential early release.
Renowned as the “Blade Runner” due to his carbon-fibre prosthetic legs, Pistorius transitioned from a celebrated Paralympic champion to a convicted murderer, captivating global attention over a decade ago during high-profile hearings.
The tragic incident occurred on Valentine’s Day in 2013 when Pistorius fatally shot Steenkamp.
Initially sentenced in 2014 for culpable homicide, Pistorius faced a dramatic turn when prosecutors’ appeals led the Supreme Court to rule his actions as murder in 2015. Subsequently, his initial five-year jail term was extended to six years by a High Court in 2016, a sentence significantly shorter than the prosecution’s sought-after 15-year minimum.
However, the Supreme Court intervened in 2017, extending his murder sentence to 13 years and five months, deeming the prior term “shockingly lenient.”
Singabakho Nxumalo, spokesperson for South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services, confirmed that a parole board would convene to assess Pistorius’ case, aiming to determine his suitability for potential release. “The CSPB (Correctional Supervision and Parole Board) shall … decide whether the inmate is suitable or not for social reintegration,” stated Nxumalo.
Conrad Dormehl, Pistorius’ lawyer, acknowledged the upcoming hearing at the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre near Pretoria but refrained from commenting on their expectations.
Typically, various factors, including the nature of the crime, prospects of reoffending, behavior in confinement, mental and physical health, and potential risks upon release, are considered by a parole board before granting parole.
While previously denied parole in March for not fulfilling the required detention period, a recent Constitutional Court ruling in October noted that Pistorius had served half his sentence by March 21, making him eligible for parole due to the backdated commencement of his sentence to July 2016 instead of November 2017.