Pretoria - Convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius believes he is eligible for parole because he has served half of his prison sentence.
The disgraced athlete is asking the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to compel the chairperson of the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre to hold a parole hearing for him.
According to the calculations of Pistorius and his lawyer, Julian Knight, he has served half of the 15 years meted out to him by the Supreme Court of Appeal and, thus, is entitled to be considered for parole.
But prison authorities say he will have only served half of his sentence in March next year.
The confusion regarding his time spent in jail followed the various appeals and orders issued by the Supreme Court after trial Judge Thokozile Masipa of the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, sentenced him to six years in prison in October 2014.
She had convicted him on a charge of culpable homicide following the Valentine’s Day 2013 killing of his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his Silverwoods Estate home in Pretoria East.
The State appealed against the verdict, and the Supreme Court convicted him of murder in 2017.
The Supreme Court upped his sentence to 13 years and five months imprisonment. This in effect meant that he would be eligible for parole in 2023.
But at that stage he had already served slightly more than 500 days behind bars in terms of his culpable homicide conviction.
But the Supreme Court again amended his sentence and ruled that the 13 years and five month sentence should be antedated to the date in 2014 when he was initially sentenced by Judge Masipa.
In taking this into account, Knight said that he had thus already served half of his jail time.
Both Correctional Services and Knight had issued letters to the Supreme Court some months ago in an attempt to clear-up the confusion. They, however, did not hear from the Supreme Court during this time.
Chief registrar of the Supreme Court Elizabeth Vermeulen earlier told the Pretoria News that there was no confusion as the orders were clear.
At the time, Knight said that while they sought clarity on all of this, his client had been in limbo.
Pistorius has done his part and apart from being a model prisoner, he has met Barry Steenkamp, the father of the deceased, as part of the victim/offender dialogue required by the parole board.
Pistorius was transferred to a prison in Gqebera, in the Eastern Cape, towards the end of last year, to meet the Steenkamp family.
He met Steenkamp in June, after the father refused to come eye-to-eye with her daughter’s killer.
Tania Koen, the lawyer representing the Steenkamp family, meanwhile, said while they did not want to comment on the issue, they shared the department’s viewpoint that he could not yet be considered for parole as they believed that he had not yet served half of his prison time.
“The Steenkamp family is not opposing parole. They simply say that the law must take its cause and they have trust in the justice system,” Koen said.
She made it clear that the Steenkamps were not part of the court application.
Singabakho Khumalo, a spokesperson for the Correctional Services department, confirmed that the application had been issued.
He said the department was trying to sort out the confusion and had no further comment on the matter.
No date has meanwhile yet been set for the hearing before the high court.