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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Oscar Pistorius ~ blade runner - not to be released tomorrow !!

A couple days back I had posted on the famous  person with  double below-knee amputations, who  competes in T44 (single below knee amputees) events though he is actually classified in T43(double below knee amputee)  - competed  at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, becoming  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...

In news for wrong reasons since, the man is ;  Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius, [simply Oscar Pistorius]  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.

On 14thFeb 2013 life changed – he  was charged with murder of his girlfriend ReevaSteenkamp, 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.

Recent reports indicated that he would be released this week and would be fitted with an electronic tag upon his release, barely 300 days after he was jailed for killing.  The shamed athlete had been recommended as an ‘ideal candidate’ for a new scheme aimed at saving money and making space in South Africa’s overcrowded jails.  The news of his probable release was met with opposition from Reeva’s family.

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 was 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.

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.But ……. Yesterday, MailOnline and other news sites reported that Oscar Pistorius will not be released from prison on Friday - as Steenkamps release poignant photo of Reeva on what would have been her 32nd birthday.

Pistorius will not be released from prison on Friday in a shock decision from South Africa's Department of Justice. He was sentenced for 5 years; and was likely to be released just ten months into that term-  the justice department claims the decision to transfer him to house arrest was made 'prematurely'.

It comes on what would have been Steenkamp's 32nd birthday. Her family has released a poignant photo of their beloved daughter as a 14-year-old girl to mark the occasion.In tribute to the tragic model, Reeva's parents Barry and June will visit the site where they scattered her ashes. The lawyer representing the couple told MailOnline that June is 'not happy' about Pistorius's delayed release because her daughter is already gone, but the fact it happened on her birthday could mean 'justice for Reeva after all'.

That release is now being put on hold until his case is reviewed by a parole board because the decision to move him to house arrest - announced in June - came 'too early', South Africa's Department of Justice added that the decision lacked legal basis.   He said Pistorius's transfer from prison to house arrest could only be considered after he had served one-sixth of his sentence on Friday.The fact that prison bosses ruled more than two months ago, that the paralympian would only spend ten months behind bars was not legal, he added. 

Pistorius still faces an appeal at the Supreme Court in November, when prosecutors will again press for a murder conviction and a minimum jail sentence of 15 years.There have been allegations that Oscar Pistorius has benefited from being a high profile prisoner,  but his supporters claim that he is suffering quite the reverse of that.  They criticised the announcement stating that though it would have legal basis, the Minister who would have known about it in October and when it was announced by correctional services in June, is choosing the eleventh hour to raise an issue with it.

August is 'women's month' in South Africa, when the country's appalling record of violence against women and girls is marked in events all over the country.

Home Detention Curfew (HDC), or ‘tag’ as it is commonly known, is a scheme that allows certain offenders to be released from prison early subject to an electronically monitored curfew, practised in some countries.  HDC is a privilege, not a right, and despite a HDC date being automatically generated for the majority of prisoners, not all prisoners will be eligible.  The person so released will have a transmitter device fitted around their ankle.  The tag sends radio signals to the monitoring unit at frequent intervals, typically once every 30 seconds or so. The two devices are calibrated so that if the defendant leaves the curfew address the signal from the tag no longer reaches the monitoring unit.

In Nov. 2014, Ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson was freed under the scheme early from 18 month sentence and was tagged.  He had been jailed in July after conviction for conspiracy to hack phones.  The sentence followed costly eight month trial at the Old Bailey in London.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

20th Aug 2015.

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