Pistorius likely to still be behind bars by time of conviction appeal

SEPTEMBER 25, 2015

Will Oscar Pistorius be behind bars when his the State’s appeal against his culpable homicide conviction in the South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal on November 3? Seems likely…

Having failed to complete all parole reviews before it last Friday, the Parole Review Board postponed the hearing for two weeks.

Pistorius, was due to be released in August, after serving 10 months of his 5-year sentence for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013. However, an 11th hour decision by the Justice Minister, Michael Masutha, suspended his release.

The Minister argued that the parole had been decided on prematurely (see how it unfolded below). 

Big decision

This is reportedly the first time that a parole decision has had to be reviewed in the country and the implications are immense.

If the Parole Review Board agrees that Pistorius' parole was made prematurely and not according to the law, then the fate of thousands of other parolees, who were granted parole under the same circumstances, will suddenly also hang in a balance.

Even if the decision of the Parole Review Board is to release him, the decision will still need to referred back to the original board that granted him parole, a process that some estimate can mean he still stays behind bars for another couple of weeks.

Conviction appeal

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court, while announcing the date for the conviction appeal, said the State’s case will be heard by a panel of five judges.

The State is arguing that Judge Thokozile Masipa made errors in finding him guilty of a lesser charge of culpable homicide and wants the Supreme Court to re-examine her verdict and change it to a more serious charge of murder.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) maintains that Pistorius knew that Reeva was behind that door and that if he fired his gun, whoever was behind it, would die. It would have preferred to see the Paralympian convicted of committing murder with indirect intent.

Pistorius’s lawyers argue that the State does not have a legal basis to bring its appeal in the first place – because their challenge isn’t based on Judge Masipa's legal interpretation but rather her evaluation of the evidence.

They claim that the best route for the State would be to apply for a re-trial, which would be grossly unfair as that would violate the principle of double jeopardy, which states that no person can be tried for the same crime twice.

Follow what happened in August

NPA FILES APPEAL AGAINST OSCAR CONVICTION

OSCAR PISTORIUS PAROLE GRIPS WORLD - SEE COMMENTS

OSCAR PISTORIUS PAROLE: MASUTHA TO MAKE DECISION ON PETITION BEFORE FRIDAY

STEENKAMPS GATHER ON PORT ELIZABETH BEACH FOR REEVA'S BIRTHDAY

DECISION TO RELEASE OSCAR PISTORIUS SUSPENDED

NO COMMENT ON OSCAR APPEAL REPORTS