A South African parole review board set aside a decision on Oscar Pistorius and wants his case reconsidered
The former Olympic and Paralympic star was found negligent in his girlfriend's 2013 shooting death
A South African parole review board met Monday to decide whether Oscar Pistorius should be let out of jail – and, when it was over, kept him where he was.
A judge sentenced Pistorius to five years in prison in October last year for culpable homicide in the killing of Reeva Steenkamp.
In fact, the prison parole board, when it announced its decision in June, believed Pistorius would therefore be eligible to transfer on August 21, which happens to be 10 months to the day after he was sentenced. That’s in line with South Africa’s Correctional Services Act, which opens the door for convicted criminals who have served at least one-sixth of their sentence to serve the rest under house arrest.
In August, the justice ministry made a last-minute intervention, blocking his release and asking a parole review board to look at his case.
That’s what happened Monday when a parole review board met to discuss whether Pistorius should serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest.
They finished by opting to “set aside the decision” and referring Pistorius’ case “back to the (broader Correctional Supervision and Parole Board) for reconsideration,” the Correctional Services department said in a news release.
“The decision … is to refer the (matter) back to the parole board because they believe the decision (to possibly let him out of jail) was made prematurely, Pistorius’ lawyer Brian Webber said.
The parole review board also ordered Pistorius “be subjected to psychotherapy in order to address criminogenic factors of the crime he committed,” the corrections department said in a statement.
The man at the center of this debate, Pistorius, used to be one of South Africa’s most famous and beloved figures. Known as the “Blade Runner” and the “Fastest Man on No Legs,” he didn’t let the fact he had both legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday stop him from being a world-class athlete – excelling not only in Paralympic Games but also representing his country in the 2012 London Olympics.
But his life changed forever a few months later on February 14, 2013, when Steenkamp was found shot to death in his home. Pistorius was charged with premeditated murder the next day.
During his trial, he acknowledged firing the fatal shots through the bathroom door in his home but said he thought there was an intruder in the bathroom rather than his girlfriend, a model and law school graduate.
Last year, a judge found him “negligent” in Steenkamp’s death. But the judge said he did not commit murder nor did he intend to kill her.
Prosecutors are appealing the verdict, believing Pistorius, who is now 28, should be convicted of murder.
CNN’s Robyn Kriel, Brent Swails and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.