After serving 10 months for shooting his girlfriend to death, Paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius is expected to be freed from prison in South Africa and go into house arrest Friday.
Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison in October 2014 after he was convicted of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day two years ago. He was convicted of culpable homicide — killing her unintentionally but unlawfully — after he said he mistook her for an intruder.
Here is what’s next for the man known as the Blade Runner.
When will Pistorius be released?
He is expected to be released Friday to correctional supervision after serving one-sixth of a five-year prison sentence. Public outrage has followed a parole board decision to recommend early release. But legal experts say Pistorius’ early release was a virtual certainty from the day he was sentenced.
Why so soon?
South Africa’s prisons are overcrowded and underfunded, so parole boards often consider correctional supervision, said Stephan Terblanche, an expert in sentencing and a professor at the University of South Africa.
Pistorius was sentenced under a specific section of the Criminal Procedure Act. It entitles the parole board to place the prisoner on corrective supervision at the one-sixth mark of a sentence — in his case, 10 months into his five-year sentence.
Early release is a norm in the nation as long as an inmate behaves well in prison and isn’t considered a danger to society.
What will be the conditions for his parole?
A Correctional Services representative told CNN the terms of his supervision will not be released. But they typically include some form of house arrest, electronic monitoring, community service, required employment — and no alcohol, drugs or firearms. We know that after his release, Pistorius will serve out the rest of his sentence at his uncle’s house in an affluent Pretoria suburb.
Will he race competitively again?
It’s highly unlikely. Regardless of the conditions of his release, the International Paralympic Committee has said he can compete only after his five-year sentence is completed. Banned from the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics, the next Olympic Games he would be eligible for would be Tokyo in 2020. By then, he will be 33 years old, making a return that much more difficult.
What are the Steenkamps saying?
Reeva Steenkamp’s parents submitted a letter urging the parole board not to release him early. “Incarceration of 10 months for taking a life is simply not enough,” the letter read in part. “We fear that this will not send out the proper message and serve as a deterrent it should.”
In the same letter, June and Barry Steenkamp wrote that they had forgiven Pistorius, but that a person found guilty of a crime must be held accountable for his actions.
Is this over?
Far from it.
The National Prosecuting Authority presents its written arguments Monday to the Supreme Court of Appeals in Bloemfontein. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel won a chance to appeal Pistorius’ conviction of culpable homicide (manslaughter). The prosecuting authority has steadfastly maintained that he should be convicted of murder. The state’s appeal is set to take place in November.
What does the appeal involve?
The state’s appeal is based on a question of law — specifically: Did Judge Thokozile Masipa correctly interpret the principle of dolus eventualis, or intent to kill in regard to the evidence presented during trial? The appeal is based on a narrow question of law, so no new witnesses will be called and there will be no new evidence presented.
The judges will instead make their ruling based on written and oral arguments, and the hundreds of pages of documents and pertinent sections of the transcript from the previous trial.
What happens if the state wins its appeal?
It would open the door for a potential resentencing. But regardless of what happens, the drawn-out legal battle will continue to cost Pistorius financially. His lawyers are some of South Africa’s most well-known — and the most expensive. The sponsorships are gone, and many of his cars and property have been sold as the legal battle continues. This is not just a legal fight for him; it will be a financial fight as well.AlertMe