Oscar Pistorius could have to wait four months before board decides on his release from prison

The decision not to release the Paralympic athlete has been welcomed by Reeva Steenkamp's family 

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Oscar Pistorius could have to wait another four months before a board reaches a decision on his parole after the South African Department of Justice stepped in and stopped his “premature” release.

The Paralympic athlete was expected to leave prison on Friday after serving just ten months of his sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He would have served the rest of his sentence in his uncle’s luxury home in Pretoria

Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide for shooting Steenkamp four times through a locked bathroom door in his home on Valentine's Day in 2013. He claimed he mistook the model and law graduate for an intruder and acted in self-defence, while prosecutors claim he shot with intent to kill.

His release would have coincided with South Africa's 'Women's Month' campaign, which highlights violence against women.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha told Reuters the parole board had wrongly decided to release Pistorius because he had not served a sixth of his sentence, as required by South African law. 

Steenkamp’s mother June, who wrote to the parole board expressing her opposition to his release on Friday, welcomed the decision to keep him behind bars for the foreseeable future. 

"It's been set now, the precedent for him to wait now until the time is right,” she told Today. “We struggle in this country with respect for women, and I think they've given justice now to Reeva.”

A spokesman for South Africa's justice ministry said the department has not yet received a response from Pistorius's lawyers on the decision to halt his release.