Authorities in SA admit Oscar Pistorius ‘wrongfully’ denied parole for 6 months
South African double amputee Olympic and Paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius is eligible for parole, after authorities in that country acknowledged that he was wrongfully denied a chance at early release from prison due to a miscalculation of when he actually began serving his sentence.
Pistorius is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence for the 2013 murder of his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who he shot through the bathroom door of his Pretoria East home on Valentine’s Day that year.
In South Africa, offenders sentenced for more than two years are eligible for parole after serving over half their sentence.
Last month, Pistorius, took his fight for his freedom to South Africa’s Constitutional Court, with his lawyers decrying the process that led to the prolonging of his incarceration as an infringement of his fundamental rights.
Pistorius, who has had various appeals for parole rejected over the years, saw the latest one fall flat in February, when the Supreme Court of Appeal decided that he was not yet eligible.
In the latest twist to the long-running legal saga, South Africa’s correctional body said they would not be opposing Pistorius appeal, as he had indeed served the prescribed amount of time for his sentence.
Authorities acknowledged that while they had said he would only be eligible for parole next year in March, this was obviously an error.
The error stemmed from the fact that when Pistorius began serving his new sentence, after his conviction of manslaughter to murder, he had already been incarcerated for 16 months.
In an apparent oversight, South Africa’s Supreme Court ruled the new murder sentence should start on Nov. 24, 2017, the date it delivered its final judgment.
That meant the 16 months between those two dates — when Pistorius was still in jail and his sentence was being appealed — was not counted.
According to new court documents, the Supreme Court of Appeal had “noted that it unfortunately” neglected to include that extra time Pistorius served.