South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, who was jailed for 13 years for murdering his girlfriend, has asked the courts to force prison authorities to consider him for parole. His lawyer Julian Knight told AFP on Wednesday that the athlete was seeking an order to force authorities to hold a parole hearing.
“It’s an application to compel the parole board to convene a hearing for his consideration for parole,” said Knight. Pistorius, 35, shot dead Reeva Steenkamp, a model, while she was in the toilet in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013. He said he thought a burglar was hiding in his en-suite bathroom when he fired four times through the door. He was found guilty of murder and started serving his sentence in 2014. Knight said the application “doesn’t mean he must be placed on parole, but that he must be considered”, he said.
No hearing date has been set yet, he said, refusing to give further details. To be considered for parole in South Africa, an offender must first serve half their term. In July, the Department of Correctional Services confirmed that a meeting had taken place the previous month between Pistorius and Steenkamp’s parents. The encounter was part of Pistorius’s rehabilitation, something that is also a requirement to be able to apply for parole.
In 2015, the lower Supreme Court of Appeal upgraded the 29-year-old’s conviction to murder in December from a prior conviction of culpable homicide in the Pretoria High Court. He had been sentenced to five years in prison for culpable homicide.
A year later, the Constitutional Court, South Africa’s apex court, rejected his attempt to appeal the sentence. Known worldwide as the “Blade Runner” because of his carbon-fibre prosthetics, Pistorius became the first double-amputee to race at the Olympics when he competed at the London 2012 games, a year before he shot Steenkamp.