Convicted killer Oscar Pistorius could soon be freed after emergency hearing
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Oscar Pistorius will have the chance to face a parole board for the second time after he was wrongly ruled ineligible for early release from prison back in March.
Following a series of appeals by prosecutors, Pistorius’ conviction was upgraded to murder and he was sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison.
Serious offenders in South Africa must serve at least half their sentence before they are eligible for parole.
However, when it comes to considering when Pistorius could be released, the court made an error by not counting the period of time Pistorius had served while his murder sentence was being appealed, meaning he was in fact eligible for parole in March this year, when he was told at his first hearing that he would only be eligible in August 2024.
Pistorius’ lawyers took his case to the country’s apex Constitutional Court and the decision to give Pistorius another parole hearing on Friday (24 November) has been seen as an admission of the appeal court’s error.
Pistorius is not guaranteed to be granted early release, with the parole board taking a number of factors into consideration before making its decision, such as conduct while in prison; likelihood of committing another crime; and the prisoner’s mental health.
Pistorius, dubbed the ‘Blade Runner’ because of his use of carbon-fibre running blades, was at the height of his career when he shot Ms Steenkamp, having competed in the London 2012 Olympics just months before.
At his murder trial, he claimed he shot Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, by mistake with his licensed 9mm pistol because he believed she was a dangerous intruder hiding in his bathroom in the middle of the night.
Ms Steenkamp's mother has previously refused to go and meet with Pistorius.
In an interview with the Daily Mail earlier this year, she said: “I couldn't see myself going without hurting him. I didn't want to go to jail for attacking him. That would have been a great possibility. Things haven't got better. It gets worse as the time goes by because we miss Reeva every day that she is not here with us.
“It's very, very stressful that she couldn't spend our last days with us because he took her.
“Oscar has taken a lot away from us and from her. So now instead of getting upset, I get anger. I am angry with him. It is a horrible thing to say, but I can't stand him.”