, JOHANNESBURG, Oct 6 – Paralympian star Oscar Pistorius will have to undergo psychotherapy, South Africa’s parole review board said Tuesday after blocking his release from prison just 10 months into his five-year sentence for killing his girlfriend.
The review panel decided on Monday that an earlier decision by the parole board to allow the 28-year-old athlete out on house arrest was “premature” and referred the case back for reconsideration.
“The PRB (parole review board) also directed that the offender be subjected to psychotherapy in order to address criminogenic factors of the crime he committed,” the review board said in a statement.
Pistorius was sentenced last year to five years in prison for killing model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013.
He was found guilty of culpable homicide – a charge equivalent to manslaughter – after saying during the trial that he shot his girlfriend through a locked bathroom door because he mistook her for an intruder.
The delay in his release means Pistorius will likely still be behind bars on November 3, when prosecutors appeal to South Africa’s supreme court for a murder conviction and a harsher sentence.
Pistorius was due to leave prison in August until Justice Minister Michael Masutha made a last-minute intervention and the case was referred to the review panel.
Masutha said the parole board had made a mistake when they approved Pistorius for early release.
The intervention was widely criticised by legal experts, but on Monday the judges sitting on the parole review board agreed with Masutha’s argument that the decision to release the athlete was made prematurely.
In an addition to recommending psychotherapy, which Pistorius does not have to complete before a new decision can be taken, the judges also recommended the parole board consider firearm restrictions against the runner should he be released.
In an interview with local television channel eNCA on Tuesday, Masutha insisted Pistorius had been treated fairly despite his intervention.
“As long as the law prescribes a matter should be dealt with in a particular way, fairness in justice simply means upholding the rule of law and in this instance, that’s what the law required and that’s the way the matter had to be dealt with,” he said.