Parole review of Paralympic athlete Pistorius delayed by two weeks

Oscar Pistorius leaving the high court in Pretoria on Aug 7, 2014, after listening to the closing arguments in his murder trial.
Oscar Pistorius leaving the high court in Pretoria on Aug 7, 2014, after listening to the closing arguments in his murder trial.PHOTO: REUTERS

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - A South African parole board has delayed by two weeks the review of early release of Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius from prison, a official said on Saturday (Sept 19).

"The parole review board met on Friday, and they could not deal with all the matters at hand, including the case of Oscar Pistorius.

They will meet again in two weeks' time to look at his matter," said Manelisi Wolela, spokesman for the Department of Correctional Services.

The double-amputee sprinter, 28, was sentenced in October to five years in prison for killing model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013, after a trial that attracted global headlines.

He was found guilty of culpable homicide – a charge equivalent to manslaughter – after saying during the trial that he shot her through a locked bathroom door because he mistook her for an intruder.

Pistorius was due to leave prison last month to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest, but Justice Minister Michael Masutha blocked his release and referred the case to the parole review board.

Even if he is freed, Pistorius could find himself back behind bars for a minimum of 15 years if an appeal by prosecutors is successful.

They are pursuing a murder conviction and a longer sentence, saying Pistorius deliberately killed Steenkamp after an argument.

If the parole review board decides that Pistorius should be released from prison, the athlete might be able to leave jail immediately, his lawyer Brian Webber told AFP.

Whatever the outcome of the parole decision, the Supreme Court of Appeal will hear the prosecution’s appeal in November.