Convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius could be eligible for parole this month, if his lawyers have it their way in ongoing negotiations with the Department of Correctional Services and the Supreme Court of Appeals.
Is Oscar Pistorius eligible for parole?
The Paralympian has been serving time in prison for murdering his girlfriend Reeve Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013. Three years later, he was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to six years imprisonment.
In 2017, the charge was upgraded to murder and Pistorius’ previous sentence was amended to 13 years and five months, meaning he would be eligible for parole after serving half of his jail term. In this timeline, parole would only be entertained in 2024. However, Pistorius’ lawyers disagree.
The Paralympian was serving time for the culpable homicide charge in 2016 when, a year later, the charge was upgraded to murder. This means that, if anything, he would have served half of his jail term in March 2023.
But, from what we understand, the murderer’s lawyers are looking at ways to expedite the process and have him released on parole as early as this month.
According to EastCoastRadio, Pistorius’ lawyer Julian Knight is prepared to file a court application to get finality on the issue around his client’s parole since the Department of Correctional Services has yet to entertain his requests for clarity.
In particular, Knight wants to know when the department plans on initiating the offender-victim dialogue, the first step in the parole process.
Pistorius was, in 2021, moved to a prison in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, where Reeva’s parents, June and Barry Steenkamp, reside. Things have since gone quiet and, it’s believed, the Paralympian is losing his patience.
“We don’t [have] feedback from the department on that. It says the process is being passed on to the Department of Social Welfare, but the DSW is not giving an update to the DCS. So at this point in time, everyone is in the dark,” Knight noted.
There has also been speculation that the process has been hampered by the Steenkamp’s supposed refusal to participate in the process. This claim, however, is not true, the family’s lawyer Tania Koen, noted in a statement to News24.
“The Steenkamps have not rejected any attempts by the Department of Correctional Services to arrange a date for the Victim Offender Dialogue, and are participating in the process to facilitate the VOD. Barry especially remains committed and adamant to speak to Oscar Pistorius,” Koen said.
The department of correctional services has, at this time, not entertainment questions on Pistorius’ parole.