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Monday, August 17, 2015

the rise of Oscar Pistorius ~ the murder - release - to be fitted with electronic tag !!!

In this beautiful World where people complain about lack of opportunities,  a person with  double below-knee amputations, competes in T44 (single below knee amputees) events though he is actually classified in T43(double below knee amputee)  - at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, he  became the first double leg amputee to participate in the Olympics when he entered the men's 400 metres race and was part of South Africa's 4 × 400 metres relay team. He also took part in the 2012 Summer Paralympics and won gold medals in the men's 400 metre race in a Paralympic record time of 46.68 seconds and in the 4 × 100 metres relay in a world record time of 41.78 seconds. He also took a silver in the 200 metres race, having set a world record of 21.30 seconds in the semifinal.

He garnered more attention for his race against Arabian stud Maserati in Doha and won too...   The man,  never baulked at a challenge;  Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius, [simply Oscar Pistorius] is better known as ‘blade-runner’.   Mr.Pistorius, who was born without fibulas, had both legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday, and he battled for many years to compete against able-bodied athletes. In 2007, Pistorius took part in his first international competitions for able-bodied athletes; and instead of appreciating some questioned the unfair advantage he might have from his  prostheses.  Clearly this man had shaken the sprinters by then.  

Great athlete – he was gaining more prominence globally, when the incident on 14th Feb 2013 changed the way the World looked at him.  On that day, he was charged with murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot dead at his home in Pretoria in the early hours of that morning. Reeva, a  platinum-haired model was a  regular glamorous young fixture on the South African celebrity scene.

Initially, he claimed that he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder hiding in the bathroom.  However, during  trial the following year, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide and handed  a  five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide and a concurrent three-year suspended prison sentence for a separate reckless endangerment conviction.  Last Dec he was granted permission for appeal. 

He is about to be released shortly and there is more news on that front. MailOnline reports that Oscar Pistorius is likely to be fitted with an electronic tag when he is released from prison next week, barely 300 days after he was jailed for killing his girlfriend.The shamed athlete has been recommended as an ‘ideal candidate’ for a new scheme aimed at saving money and making space in South Africa’s overcrowded jails.Prison chiefs are still finalising the conditions of the 28-year-old South African’s release into ‘corrective supervision’ just 10 months into his five year sentence for manslaughter.  …… ..one of the issues to be resolved is where a tag might be fitted on Pistorius – who was a baby when his legs were amputated below the knee - since they are typically fixed around the ankle of offenders.

Pistorious was jailed after shooting Reeva Steenkamp, who would have turned 31 next week, dead through a locked bathroom door at his home on Valentine’s Day in 2013. The sprinter was cleared of murder after telling his trial how he had mistaken his lover of three months for a burglar.

The news he will soon be released has been met with opposition from Reeva’s family.June Steenkamp, 68, told South Africa’s Citizen newspaper: ‘I don't think it's a good idea to let him back in society so quickly. He shot my daughter through that door where she had no space to move or defend herself. 'One of the bullets blew her brains out, it is disgusting what he did to her – 10 months is just not enough.’

Today, prison authorities at the sprawling KgosiMampuru jail, in Pretoria, where the runner has been held on the hospital wing, will begin their final week of preparing Pistorius for his return to his community next Friday morning.The track star will be released the comfortable home of his wealthy businessman uncle, Arnold Pistorius, albeit with restrictions over his movement.Pistorius has served his jail sentence in the KgosiMampuru II, in Pretoria, where he has been kept on the hospital wing, away from the main prison population.

Correctional supervision is typically offered to offenders of serious crimes who are not considered to pose any danger to society and for whom a long period in jail is considered unhelpful to a long term rehabilitation.As part of this, it is anticipated that Pistorius will have to carry out some sort of community service two days a month which could take a number of forms, including cleaning public spaces - although the authorities may conclude this would be a poor use of his skills and high profile.

Public sightings of Pistorius are likely to provoke excitable responses from his fans, foes and media alike. An army of devoted - mostly female - fans have been counting down the days to his release from jail on dedicated websites and Facebook pages. Meanwhile, the runner’s lawyer said his client had expressed an interest in working with children.Zach Modise, the correctional services’ national commissioner, who said Pistorius had ‘behaved himself’ behind bars, suggested he would have one hour of free time each day before restrictions are eased further.

Pistorius’s family’s response to news of his imminent homecoming has been muted – with good reason.In November, an appeal against Pistorius' acquittal of murder will begin with legal experts predicting the state has ‘a fair chance’ of success. If he is found guilty of murder by a panel of appeal judges, Pistorius faces at least 15 years behind bars, although the time he has served to date will be taken into account.

His grandmother, Gertie Pistorius, 91, told MailOnline ‘there will be no parties’ to welcome him back to the fold. ‘What is there to celebrate?’ she added. Pistorius will have to agree to abstain from drinking or taking drugs. He has a history of getting into fights at nightclubs and parties and random blood tests may be carried out by parole officers assigned to his supervision.

And while Pistorius is expected to get back to some sort of limited training, outside of the confines of his uncle’s home-based gym, he will not be free to compete. The international Paralympic Committee has ruled him out of next year’s games in Rio, but could take part in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, once his sentence has run its course – by which time, aged 33, far older than the average professional sprinter.

The live broadcast of Pistorius’ murder trial, which spanned seven months of last year, drew massive audiences from around the world. Prison bosses have not yet decided whether the media will have access to film Pistorius’ journey to freedom, most likely as a physically changed man.The once-powerfully built athlete has reportedly refused to eat prison food out of fear of being poisoned, surviving instead on tins of beans, vegetables and meat from the tuck shop paid for out of his meagre prisoner’s allowance.

South Africa locks up more criminals than any other country in Africa, leaving its prison staff over-stretched, its facilities overcrowded and taxpayers over burdened by the costs.And although electronic tagging is well established in a number of developed countries, it is a new phenomenon in South Africa where the first trial ran in 2012.The success of the programme, involving 150 offenders mostly serving life terms, has led to its expansion. Pistorius – who earned the coveted category ‘A’ inmate status only weeks into his sentence a long with a raft of privileges – is a good candidate to join the one per cent of the country’s prisoner population who are expected to be tagged and back in their communities by the end of this year.

For the appeal, a panel of Supreme Court judges will examine witness statements and transcripts of his trial and hear arguments from the state and Pistorius’ own lawyers, and could take until well into next year before they give their ruling. Pistorius is not required to attend proceedings in Bloemfontein.One of the outstanding questions is how Pistorius plans to fund his defence – and any subsequent appeal if the ruling goes against him. At the hearing to decide his sentence, the court heard from his barrister Barry Roux how the athlete had been left ‘broke and broken’ in the wake of the shooting of his girlfriend, unable to settle his legal costs.

For us in India, reading this case – it seems far different – a famed athlete who has earned well – report suggests that he would find it difficult to settle legal costs – are they so costly ? – and can somebody charged with murder come out so soon ?? and what is the purpose of keeping somebody under sentence in cost relative’s house – whether tagged or not ???

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

17th Aug 2015.

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