S. Africa’s Pistorius seeks parole decade after killing girlfriend
South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius is expected to attend a parole hearing on Friday that could see him released from prison early, a decade after he killed his girlfriend.
A parole board is scheduled to convene at 10:00 am (0800 GMT) at the correctional facility where the now 36-year-old is being held on the outskirts of Pretoria.
Pistorius shot dead Reeva Steenkamp, a model, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013, firing four times through the bathroom door of his ultra-secure Pretoria house, in a killing that shocked the world.
Steenkamp’s mother, June is to appear before the board to “make representations” also on behalf of her husband, Barry, who is unable to travel due to ill health, Tania Koen, a lawyer for the family said.
“They have no expectations,” Koen told AFP of the Steenkamps ahead of the hearing. “The law must take its course”.
Comprising at least three people, including prison services and community members, the board is to determine whether the purpose of imprisonment has been served, according to the Department of Correctional Services.
Known worldwide as the “Blade Runner” because of his carbon-fibre prosthetics, Pistorius was found guilty of murder and given a 13-year jail sentence in 2017 after a lengthy trial, including several appeals.
He had pleaded not guilty and denied that he killed Steenkamp in a rage, saying he mistook her for a burglar.
Offenders in South Africa are automatically eligible for parole consideration after serving half of their sentence.
Pistorius has served more than half, having started his term in 2014.
His lawyer Julian Knight said he would not comment until after a decision on the parole was made.
– Closed hearing –
Pistorius met Steenkamp’s parents last year, in a process authorities said aims to ensure inmates “acknowledge the harm they have caused to their victims and the society at large”.
The board will consider whether Pistorius has been rehabilitated or still poses a danger to society, as well as his conduct in prison, according to the correctional services.
The hearing will be closed to the media.
A year before killing Steenkamp, Pistorius became the first double amputee to race at the Olympics at the London 2012 games.
He then was a sporting icon admired worldwide and courted by sponsors.
But it all came crashing down after the killing.
Parole decisions are usually known the same day of the hearing or a day later, but the correctional services department has suggested that in Pistorius’s case the decision may not be taken on the same day.
If denied, the offender has the right to approach the courts for review.