Oscar Pistorius 'should not be freed from prison in summer'

Oscar Pistorius's sister denies prison rules broken on birthday

Reeva Steenkamp's mother speaks out after claims that Oscar Pistorius wants to work with children

LAST UPDATED AT 11:17 ON Wed 13 May 2015

Oscar Pistorius should not be freed from prison this summer, his victim's mother has said, amid claims that the athlete wants to work with children on his release.

Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide last October after shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp four times through a locked toilet door on Valentine's Day in 2013.

He was sentenced to five years, but could be released on house arrest as early as August.

Reeva's mother June has said it is not a good idea to let him back into society so quickly. "He shot my daughter through that door where she had no space to move or defend herself. One of the bullets blew her brains out. It is disgusting what he did to her... ten months is just not enough," she told South African newspaper The Citizen.

June Steenkamp questioned what message would be sent out to the country about domestic abuse if Pistorius was released, warning: "Justice must be done, otherwise there will be chaos."

Her comments came after one of Pistorius's lawyers told The Sunday Times that his client wants to work with children when he is released from prison.

Rohan Kruger, who works on the defence team with lead counsel Barry Roux, told the newspaper: "Oscar is keen to become involved in assisting children in whatever opportunity will present."

A Correctional Supervision and Parole Board will decide whether Pistorius should be released and stipulate the conditions under which he would have to serve the rest of his sentence. Kruger said this is likely to include a course of anger management, visits to church and a ban on alcohol and drugs. The board is also likely to determine where Pistorius should live and the scope of his contact with others.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have launched an appeal to escalate Pistorius's conviction from culpable homicide to murder.

Another lawyer speaking to the Sunday Times said Pistorius had been left "utterly penniless" and that his defence team had not been paid for two months.

Oscar Pistorius: Judge Masipa dismisses defence appeal

13 March

Judge Thokozile Masipa has dismissed a request from Oscar Pistorius's defence team to argue that she was wrong to allow the state to appeal his conviction.

The athlete was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in prison last year for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on 14 February 2013.

In December, prosecutors – who want Pistorius to be convicted on the more serious charge of murder – claimed Judge Masipa was mistaken in her application of the law and that a different court could reach a different decision. She granted them leave to appeal his conviction, but not his sentence.

Today the defence asked Judge Masipa to agree that this decision might have been wrong. They said the culpable homicide verdict was reached on matters of fact, which cannot be the basis for an appeal.

However, prosecutor Gerrie Nel – who insists his appeal is based on matters of law, not fact – said there was no provision in law for the court even to hear the defence's application, let alone to grant it.

Judge Masipa agreed with the state, saying that there was "really nothing new" in what the defence had submitted and that her court was not the right place to hear the application.

This means the case will now go to the supreme court of appeal, where five judges will hear from both sides.

Attorney Marius du Toit told South Africa's eNCA news channel that the defence's application was not an "exercise in futility" and was more about defence lawyer Barry Roux "dotting his Is and crossing his Ts".

He suggested that, in light of today's application from Roux, the supreme court of appeal will not be able to refuse to hear arguments on the grounds that the defence did not attempt to appeal against the state application.

Pistorius and his family were not in court.

 

Oscar Pistorius allowed hugs, jewellery and radio in prison

17 February

Prison bosses in South Africa have relaxed the terms of Oscar Pistorius's imprisonment, allowing him to wear jewellery, hug visitors and spend more money in the jail's tuck shop, according to reports.

The former athlete, who was sentenced to five years in prison for culpable homicide last year, has been upgraded from a Category B prisoner to Category A, which comes with a raft of new privileges.

His phone call allowance has increased from 6 to 24 calls, and he is now able to own a radio and take up a hobby.

Bosses at Kgosi Mampuru II Prison in Pretoria made the upgrade after they decided he poses "little threat to security" and comes two years after he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013, reports the Daily Mail.

A family source told the newspaper: "This has boosted him a lot. He has been very low in prison, although he seems to be getting all the support from the prison authorities that he needs."

The strict "no-touching" policy during visits will be lifted and he will no longer be separated from his visitors by glass. Visits have also been extended from two hours a month to three hours a month.

His allowance for the prison tuck shop, which sells chocolate, fizzy drinks and toiletries, has risen from R100 to R150 (£5.60 to £8.40).

Since he was sentenced four months ago, Pistorius has reportedly completed a number of rehabilitation programmes, including a course on coping with emotions.

He is said to share the use of a running machine and exercise bike with suspected crime boss Radovan Krejcir, who is on trial for fraud, robbery and torture, and was charged with a fresh count of murder last week.

South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority, which is due to appeal against Pistorius's acquittal for murder, is waiting for a date at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein where arguments will be heard by a panel of three to five judges.

 

Oscar Pistorius appeal: state can challenge murder acquittal

10 December

Oscar Pistorius could yet be convicted of murder after Judge Masipa today granted the prosecution leave to appeal against the athlete's acquittal for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.

The state was not given permission to appeal against the five-year sentence handed down to the athlete, nor to challenge his acquittal on the charge of possessing illegal ammunition.

The case will now be heard in South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

The issue at the heart of the prosecution's argument was Judge Thokozile Masipa's application of "dolus eventualis", a legal term for when the perpetrator foresees the possibility of his action causing death and persists regardless.

In September, Masipa ruled that the prosecution had not provided enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Pistorius foresaw that he might kill somebody when he fired four shots into his toilet door. Therefore, Pistorius was cleared of murder and convicted on the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

Today, Masipa said prosecutor Gerrie Nel had persuaded her that there were still questions on points of law to be answered.

However, she was not convinced that Pistorius's five-year prison sentence was "shockingly inappropriate", as Nel had claimed, nor that another court would come to a different conclusion on the sentence.

A spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority told reporters outside court: "Our argument was that [Pistorius] should have been convicted of murder, and then would have been sentenced to a minimum sentence of 15 years. That is, of course, what we would like to happen. It isn't about winning – it's about justice."

The Supreme Court of Appeal sits in panels of three or five judges, depending on the nature of the appeal. The senior judge presides, but the decision of the majority is the decision of the court.

Prosecutors told reporters that things can "take time" at the appeal stage and Pistorius could even be out of jail by the time the appeal is scheduled.

 

Oscar Pistorius appeal: Nel says judge 'erred' on conviction

9 December

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel was back in court today to appeal against Oscar Pistorius's culpable homicide conviction and five-year sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa cleared the athlete of murder, saying the state had not proved beyond reasonable doubt that Pistorius had intended to kill anyone when he fired four shots through a locked toilet door on 14 February 2013.

Masipa will deliver her ruling tomorrow. If she grants the prosecution permission to appeal against her verdict and sentence, the case will go to South Africa's supreme court of appeal in Bloemfontein. If she refuses, the prosecution can choose to petition her decision.

Defence lawyer Barry Roux will also make a submission, but Pistorius is unlikely to make an appearance himself. He is currently serving his sentence at Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria.

Here is what we have heard today: 

10.30am: Defence lawyer Barry Roux makes his submission. He says that every single point raised by the prosecution in its application was taken into account by the court. Even if the court made an error, it would be based on a point of fact, not law, and so cannot be grounds for appeal, he says. Roux accuses the state of "twisting" things because it is unhappy with the findings. "My Lady, you absolutely, correctly dealt with dolus eventualis," he tells Judge Masipa. Wrapping up, Roux summarises that there is no case for appeal.

Judge Masipa says she needs time to consider her decision. The court adjourns until tomorrow morning.

9.00am: Gerrie Nel is making his submission to the court. His job is to convince Masipa that a different court might make a different finding. In his written submission he describes Pistorius's five-year sentence as "shockingly light". He tells the court that the fact that Pistorius might serve only ten months in prison is "inappropriate" for someone who acted with his degree of culpability and gross negligence. "An innocent woman was shot and killed in most horrendous circumstances... The accused fired four shots. He knew there was someone in the cubicle with no escape," he says.

Nel suggests the court may have "erred" in its application of dolus eventualis, a legal term for when the perpetrator foresees the possibility of his action causing death and persists regardless. Judge Masipa ruled that Pistorius had not foreseen that his action would result in death.

Nel denies a claim by the defence that his appeal is based on matters of fact – which is not allowed – and insists it is a matter of law. For a murder conviction, the court does not have to believe Pistorius wanted to kill Steenkamp, but simply that he wanted to kill the perceived intruder he believed to be behind his toilet door, says Nel. The prosecutor adds that it is very unlikely that a murder suspect will come to court and admit they wanted to shoot. Therefore the court has to use the legal tests and facts to come to that conclusion.

 

Oscar Pistorius's sister denies prison rules broken on birthday

24 November

Oscar Pistorius's sister Aimee has denied reports that her family flouted prison rules on the day of her brother's birthday.

South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper suggested yesterday that the athlete was given preferential treatment as he celebrated his 28th birthday behind bars at Pretoria's Kgosi Mampuru prison on Saturday.

"Prison officials bent over backwards for Oscar Pistorius and his siblings on his birthday," claimed the newspaper.

It said Aimee and her brother Carl had been allowed to bring Pistorius balloons, a gift bag and a cake from outside of the prison, despite Correctional Services rules stating that prisoners can only be given food bought at the prison tuck shop.

It also claimed the siblings spent almost two hours together, despite rules stating that visits must last no longer than an hour. Prison officials drove Aimee and Carl's cars into the prison grounds without searching them "as is the norm for vehicles entering a high-security area", added the Times.

But Aimee took to Twitter yesterday to address the claims. "I am dumbfounded at the false and irresponsible reporting in some newspapers today. Carl and I had a 45-minute non-contact visit with Oscar yesterday as all our visits have been non-contact thus far, per regulations," she wrote.

"My brother received NOTHING that was not allowed by prison regulations for group B prisoners. No cake or perishables present at all. In fact, he only received toiletries and letters on his birthday and we took some balloons to SHOW him through the glass divider.

"We are respectful of the rules. The correctional officers have been courteous but stern – as their position requires."

The management of Kgosi Mampuru denied Pistorius was receiving preferential treatment, but a spokesman for South Africa's Department of Correctional Services said: "The allegations will be investigated and persons found guilty will be dealt with."

Pistorius is serving a five-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of culpable homicide for shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on 14 February 2013.

          

More about Oscar Pistorius:

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years in prisonOscar Pistorius sentencing: as it happenedOscar Pistorius was 'on phone to ex' on eve of shootingOscar Pistorius: 'there is still a missing link' Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide - but not murderOscar Pistorius: How long might he face in jailWhat is Oscar Pistorius's defence and can it succeedOscar Pistorius involved in nightclub fightOscar Pistorius: some defence witnesses refused to testifyOscar Pistorius judge's concern over mysterious missing cordOscar Pistorius: seven key quotes from the murder trialSix questions for Judge Masipa Family denies athlete took acting lessonsReeva 'had no time to scream'Pistorius told: 'You are getting deeper into trouble'Pistorius describes night he shot Reeva SteenkampPolice release photos of crime sceneFive questions Pistorius will need to answerPistorius used bullets that cause 'maximum wounding'

 

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