Ricochet News

Oscar Pistorius free in August, State appeal in November

Jun 8, 2015
Oscar Pistorius free in August, State appeal in November

It has now been revealed that the State’s appeal against Oscar Pistorius’s murder acquittal is set for November - which will be three months after Pistorius' expected release on parole on August 21. Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide after he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013.

In a trial that ran from March 3 last year until sentencing on October 21, Pistorius was sentenced to five years in jail for the shooting and is now due for parole in August - just 10 months into his sentence - owing to good behaviour, according to some reports.

He is currently being kept in the hospital wing of the Kgosi Mampuru II Prison in Pretoria.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) told eNCA that it "has no role to play in parole proceedings" and therefore won't block the Paralympian’s parole.

The State has not filed a petition to appeal his sentence because it only plans to challenge his acquittal of murder.

The State and defence are expected to file heads of argument in the appeal by September 17. The exact date of the appeal will be finalised after that.

Five judges will hear the State's appeal, but normally it's three in criminal appeals.

According to his lawyer, Rohan Kruger, Pistorius spends about 23 hours of his day in an isolation wing. Most of that time is apparently consumed by reading the Bible and praying.

Steenkamps will oppose parole

In May, June Steenkamp, the mother of Pistorius' slain girlfriend, Reeva, told a local radio show that it was too soon to release the Pistorius from prison. 

“The women in this country are now suffering with abuse and murder for someone to come out just after ten months is just not enough … somebody is dead, you know, she is gone. [Parole] after just ten months is not enough it’s sending the wrong message for others to carry on,” June said.

She said chaos was now reigning in the previously small and relatively peaceful city of Port Elizabeth – coincidentally often referred to as the Friendly City.

“We also have got the case of [Anni] Dewani – and others similar to that case, it is almost like you can just kill someone and get away with it. Dewani walked… so what are we saying now when we say you can go to jail for five years but walk out on parole after ten months – that is just sending the wrong message out to people.”

June said the decision to release Oscar is a real possibility but the Parole Board will first contact her and her husband, Barry, to find out how they would feel if he was released into the community.

“… we steal have an appeal on his conviction that is still pending.”

June also drew parallels to the Jayde Panayiotou murder case that has gripped Port Elizabeth and South Africa over the past month.

“He suggested that if Oscar could get bail the he was also entitled to bail and that the murder [of Jayde] was not as serious as the other. Killing is killing somebody is dead.  

“This is now how people feel. Honestly, this is the message that they have gotten now  that you can kill somebody and get away with it. That is really bad,” June said.

“In this town, Port Elizabeth, things are really bad. Every day, there is a murder.”

She said they will oppose any attempts to release Oscar before his five years – although she was not sure about how much weight their opinions carried in swaying the Parole Board’s decision.

“We all need to now get involved in this [fighting crime] otherwise, we cannot even go out to walk our dogs because we are not safe anymore. And partners killing their partners, it’s just chaos now – it’s out of control.” 

Social media reaction

On Monday, Oscar Pistorius also trended on Twitter-- here is why:

-additional reporting eNCA