The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) of South Africa has announced that it will reduce convicted killer Oscar Pistorius’ sentence after it emerged that its judgment failed to take into account the 506 days that he had already served for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. As a result, he will now be eligible for parole in March 2023.
The five judges who increased Pistorius’ murder sentence from six years imprisonment to 13 years have corrected their ruling, so that it is recorded as having come into effect on 6 July 2016 – the day he was first sentenced for murder by Judge Thokozile Masipa.
“It is quite clear from the judgment delivered… that the court intended to backdate the sentence. Unfortunately, the court omitted to include the backdating of the sentence in the order itself,” said court registrar Paul Myburgh in the amended order.
The amendment has not been opposed by the National Prosecuting Authority which led the case against the Paralympian.
The double-amputee was initially sentenced to five years in jail after being found guilty of culpable homicide in 2014. However, the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned that conviction and replaced it with one of murder.
The judge, who described the case as “difficult” and Pistorius as “a fallen hero”, said the life of the deceased would never be brought back.
“The facts considered are the gravity of the offence, the interests of society, and the rights of the deceased and the accused.”
Pistorius insisted that the shooting was not premeditated and said he fired in panic when he thought an intruder was in the house.
Both of Pistorius’ legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old. He was the first athlete to compete at the Paralympic Games and Olympic Games, competing in sprint events for below-knee amputees in Paralympic events, and in non-disabled sprint events.
At the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, Pistorius became the first amputee to win a non-disabled world track medal. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Pistorius became the first double-leg amputee to participate in the Olympics.
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