Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius to be released from jail on Oct. 20

Posted on October 15, 2015


by Bradley Matthews, editing by Adam MS

New update (11/3)/REUTERS 

Oscar Pistorius should be convicted of murder and returned to jail, prosecutors tell appeal hearing

South Africa’s “blade runner” Oscar Pistorius should be convicted of murder and sent back to jail for shooting his girlfriend, prosecutors have told a court hearing an appeal to his conviction for a lesser offence.

The Paralympic gold medalist was freed on parole last month after serving a fifth of the prison term given to him for the “culpable homicide” of Reeva Steenkamp, who he killed on Valentine’s Day 2013.

Prosecutors made their submissions at the supreme court, arguing that a high court judge had made legal errors when she decided not to convict Pistorius of the more serious charge of murder last year.

The 28-year-old track star was not present at the one-day hearing in Bloemfontein, 400 kilometers south-west of Johannesburg.

The court will deliver its decision on the appeal at a later date.

The five supreme court judges could convict Pistorius of murder themselves — leaving him facing a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison — or order a retrial or reject the prosecution’s appeal, legal experts have said.

State lawyers said they would aim to show that the high court not only approached the circumstantial evidence incorrectly, but also incorrectly excluded relevant evidence.

Oscar Pistorius

“We have to convince the court that we are dealing with errors of law,” chief state prosecutor Gerrie Nel said.

“The court ignored the most important circumstantial evidence that would make the respondent’s version … impossible.”

Lead defense attorney Barry Roux began his response by disputing the state’s submission on evidence.

“First of all, we submit that the court did not ignore the evidence,” Mr Roux said.

Steenkamp’s mother June, who last week said she did not want retribution, attended the hearing but did not make a statement.

Members of the ruling ANC party’s Women’s League at the session told reporters that Pistorius had been let out too soon and should get the minimum 15-year sentence for murder.

“We are here for Reeva’s family and the state,” the League’s Gautain province spokeswoman, Jacqui Mofokeng, said.

Pistorius, dubbed “Blade Runner” because of the carbon fibre prosthetic blades he uses to compete, denied deliberately killing his girlfriend, saying he mistook her for an intruder at his home.

Prosecutors said Pistorius intended to kill Ms Steenkamp, who they said fled to a toilet during a row. Pistorius shot through the door four times, hitting her.

At the original trial in September last year, high court Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled that the state had failed to prove intent or “dolus eventualis”, a legal concept that centers on a person being held responsible for the foreseeable consequences of their actions.

The state argues Masipa misinterpreted some parts of the law and that Pistorius must have known that the person behind the door could be killed.

The athlete, whose lower legs were amputated when he was a baby, was freed two weeks ago in line with sentencing guidelines that say non-dangerous prisoners should spend only a sixth of a custodial sentence behind bars.

He has not been seen in public since then and is under house arrest that confines him to his uncle’s home in a wealthy Pretoria suburb for the duration of his sentence.

Original article ===

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa’s Department of Corrections says a parole board has decided that Oscar Pistorius can be released from prison and moved to house arrest on Tuesday.

The parole board made the decision Thursday after an initial decision to release the double-amputee runner in August was canceled.

The Olympic runner has served nearly a year of his five-year sentence for manslaughter for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He will be moved to correctional supervision, a form of house arrest where he will have to live under certain conditions.

Under South African law, an offender sentenced to five years or less in jail can be released after serving one-sixth — in Pistorius’ case 10 months.