OSCAR Pistorius is with members of his family at his uncle’s mansion after being released from prison and moved to house arrest a day earlier than expected, a spokeswoman said.
“Oscar is here, and Oscar is at home with the family,” spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess said, addressing dozens of reporters outside Arnold Pistorius’s luxurious home in an upmarket suburb of Pretoria.
“The family is happy that Oscar is at home,” Ms Burgess said.
Pistorius, the double-amputee runner who fatally shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, was moved from a central Pretoria jail on Monday night.
He has served a year of his five-year sentence for manslaughter for killing Ms Steenkamp. Under South African law, he is eligible to serve the remainder under correctional supervision, a form of house arrest.
The decision to release Pistorius, 28, a day earlier was only communicated to his family at short notice, Ms Burgess said. Confirming Pistorius’s release, South Africa’s Department of Corrections said the decision over when and how an offender is released is made by the prison.
“The handling of the actual placement is an operational matter of the local management, and how they handle it is their prerogative that is carried out in the best interest of all parties concerned, the victims, the offender and the Department of Correction Services,” Manelisi Wolela, a spokesman for the department, said.
The murder trial of Pistorius generated intense international interest, and the surprising decision to release Pistorius a day early, and at night, appeared to have avoided the logistical challenges and spectacle associated with a large gathering of TV crews and other journalists hoping to catch a glimpse of Pistorius on the way out of prison.
Ms Burgess was surrounded by reporters and camera crews when reading a prepared statement outside Arnold Pistorius’s house yesterday.
Apparently responding to criticism that Pistorius’s release after just a year in prison was too lenient, Ms Burgess said the sentence “has not been shortened or reduced”.
“He now enters the next phase of his sentence. He will serve this under the strict conditions that govern correctional supervision,” she said.
Under South African law, an offender sentenced to five years or less in jail can be released to correctional supervision at home after serving one-sixth of the term – in Pistorius’s case ten months.
The full conditions under which Pistorius must now live for the next four years have not been released by the corrections department and Ms Burgess would not detail them yesterday.