Though the court in South Africa sentenced him to six years Tuesday, July 5, Oscar Pistorius, the Olympic athlete may be out of prison in two years time. This is because he is, by the law of the country, entitled to parole after spending half of his prison term.
Now, Pistorius who has served one year out of the initial controversial five-year term handed over to him in 2014, for manslaughter, will only be required to serve five years to complete the six-year jail term for murder.
The prosecutors, perhaps in response to popular condemnation of the initial charge, had appealed the judgment then. The appellate court ruled in favour of murder and the court had to retry the athlete.
Even then there has been public disapproval of the six-year verdict, which they say is a far cry from the prescribed 15-years for murder by law. Apparently contended with the verdict , the convict’s counsel have said that they would not appeal the judgment, except the prosecution decides to file an appeal.
Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in February 2013, claiming that he mistook her for an intruder.
Critics of the verdict say it was because Pistorius is white and a celebrity. They expressed sentiments that his verdict, in a country with a high rate of murder cases , will send a wrong signal to would-be offenders.
Judge Thokozile Mosipa,however , said mitigating factors, like ‘rehabilitation and remorse , outweighed aggravating factors, such as his failure to fire a warning shot,’ thus the decision of the court to deviate from the prescribed 15-year jail term.
But if he applies for parole in 2018, and he is granted , then he would have served three years instead of the six years handed down by the court. The only difference the Tuesday verdict has made over that of 2014, aside from adding one year in jail, is that Pistorius has been convicted of murder, not manslaughter.