New parole meeting to decide on Pistorius's release

9th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

The South African parole board will meet Friday to reconsider whether to release Oscar Pistorius in the latest stage of a lengthy battle over the length of his jail sentence.

The Paralympian star's lawyers have argued that he should have been allowed out on house arrest in August after serving 10 months of his five-year sentence for killing his girlfriend.

But he remained in jail after Justice Minister Michael Masutha made a last-minute intervention and the case was referred for review.

"The Parole Board is sitting today to reconsider the case of Oscar Pistorius's placement," the Correctional Services department said in a statement.

"We cannot speculate or predict the outcome of today's meeting."

Brian Webber, a lawyer representing Pistorius, told AFP that he was hopeful that Pistorius could even be released by the end of the day.

"I wish I knew what will happen, but there has been so many surprises in this case that I can't predict anything," he said.

"I do think correctional services have probably considered how unfairly he has been treated.

"I would be extraordinarily surprised if he wasn't released. He should have been released on August 21."

Earlier this week Pistorius's family accused officials of bowing to "political and media hype" after the star's release was again delayed.

In a trial that made headlines around the world, Pistorius was jailed last year for killing his girlfriend, model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day 2013.

He was found guilty of culpable homicide -- a charge equivalent to manslaughter -- after saying he shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door because he mistook her for an intruder.

Even if he is released, Pistorius faces a further test on November 3 when prosecutors appeal to South Africa's supreme court for a murder conviction and a harsher sentence.

A champion Paralympian and once a poster boy for sport, Pistorius, known as the "Blade Runner" for the prosthetic legs he wore on the track, rose to global fame when he raced against able-bodied competitors in the 2012 London Olympics.

Reeva Steenkamp's parents, who are convinced Pistorius murdered their daughter in a rage, have strongly opposed the athlete's possible parole.

The latest parole review on Monday ordered him to undergo further psychotherapy treatment and recommended he must be put under firearm restrictions if allowed out.

The trial revealed the world-famous athlete to have a volatile personality and a penchant for guns.

He was accused of firing a gun through the sunroof of an ex-girlfriend's moving car in 2011 and, weeks before he shot Steenkamp, he accidentally discharged a gun at a Johannesburg restaurant.


© 2015 AFP

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