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Explaining the law around Oscar’s release

8/06/2015

Explaining the law around Oscar’s release

Today the Correctional Services Department confirmed that it has recommended to the Parole Board that Oscar Pistorius be released on probation on 21 August. The Supreme Court of Appeal will hear the State’s appeal against Pistorius’s murder acquittal in November, three months later.

We always knew that Pistorius would be eligible for parole in August, after serving 1/6 of his five year sentence. According to Section 2761(a) of the Criminal Procedure Act, this is at the discretion of the Commissioner of Prisons. So essentially, it’s up to Zach Modise to decide whether or not Pistorius can serve out the remainder of his sentence at home doing community service. This doesn’t mean that he is ‘free’ – he’s still serving his sentence but at home and under strict conditions. You can read more about the application of the law when it comes to parole here:

http://www.dcs.gov.za/Services/CorrectionalSupervisionandParoleBoards.aspx

Here’s the kicker though – if the Supreme Court of Appeal decides in November that Judge Thokozile Masipa was wrong and Pistorius should be convicted of murder, the athlete could then be sent back to prison to serve a 15 year jail term. The NPA is not technically appealing the sentence because it doesn’t need to. The sentence will automatically be converted if he’s convicted of murder by the SCA.

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