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Oscar Pistorius to spend Christmas at home. Reeva's family to spend it at cemetery.

UPDATE:

Killer Oscar Pistorius has been released on bail while he awaits sentence for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The former Paralympian’s culpable homicide verdict was set aside last week when judges of South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal found him guilty of murdering the model.

The world was waiting to see whether Pistorius, who was on house arrest after serving only one year of his five-year jail term in prison, would be remanded in custody while awaiting re-sentence for murder, which carries a minimum term of 15 years’ jail.

But today, he was released on bail of 10,000 South African Rand (which is less than AUD $1,000) on the conditions that he return to court on 18 April, 2016, and submit to house arrest. He is allowed to leave the Pretoria mansion between 7am and midday but can only travel within a 20 km radius of the house.

Mamamia previously reported: Oscar Pistorius has been found guilty of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, after his culpable homicide verdict was set aside on appeal. The Paralympic gold medallist – currently on house arrest after serving only one of his five-year sentence – will be resentenced at the Pretoria high court.

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South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal ruled the trial judge incorrectly apply the law in respect of whether Pistorius, known as ‘Blade Runner’, knew his actions would like result in a death, the BBC reports.

A panel of judges found that in arming himself with a high-calibre weapon, he must have foreseen that the person behind the door might die.

In response to Pistorius’ claim he believed the person behind the bathroom door was an intruder, the judges found the identity of the person was irrelevant.

Pistorius faces a minimum sentence of 15 years’ jail for the murder, though his lawyers will likely argue his physical disability and mental stress are mitigating circumstances.

He will reportedly remain on house arrest while awaiting his new sentence.

The runner was not in court when the judgment was handed down, but Steenkamp’s mother, June, was present.

Mamamia previously wrote:

“A person found guilty of a crime must be held accountable for their actions.” — Reeva Steenkamp’s parents.

What could ever be sufficient punishment for cruelly stealing the life of your partner? For snuffing out the future of a bright, beautiful, young woman with a bullet – or three? In some parts of the world, the answer is death. In others, it’s life imprisonment. In South Africa, it’s a measly 12 months in jail.

This is not much longer than the time it takes to conceive and deliver a baby. It’s the length of a school year. And 28-year-old Olympian Oscar Pistorius served just shy of that time for fatally shooting his girlfriend, 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp. He was released on Monday into house arrest at his uncle’s mansion.

Oscar Pistorius release delayed
Reeva Steenkamp with her boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius. Image via Getty.
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He was scheduled for early release in August after serving only 10 months of his five-year sentence for killing Reeva, but the premature attempt was blocked at the eleventh hour by South Africa’s justice minister.

Now, Pistorius — released after serving one day shy of a year in prison – is free to live his life. Unlike Reeva, who should have celebrated her 32nd birthday in August.

Pistorius, known as “Blade Runner” for the carbon-fibre racing prosthetics he wears on his amputated legs, insisted he did not intend to kill his girlfriend of three months. He said that on Valentine’s Day 2013 that he had fired four bullets through his locked bathroom door in an attempt to “protect Reeva”, mistakenly believing an intruder was inside.

The prosecution told a very different story.

They accused the athlete of premeditated murder, alleging he put his prosthetic limbs on and walked seven metres to the locked door behind which Reeva was trapped and cowering after arguing with the athlete.

Oscar Pistorius release delayed
Image via Twitter.

Ultimately, a judge acquitted Pistorius of murder. She found he acted unlawfully and negligently, but said the evidence was “purely circumstantial” – an unsurprising outcome when the only other witness to the crime is dead.

He was found guilty of the lesser offence of culpable homicide (the equivalent of manslaughter), which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years’ jail. He received a five-year term. (An appeal against the verdict will be heard before the Supreme Court of Appeal next month. If found guilty of murder, Pistorius faces a minimum 15 years in jail.)

But, after less than 12 months in custody — and reportedly with special privileges not bestowed to other inmates — Pistorius was released. Under South African sentencing guidelines, non-violent prisoners should only spend one-sixth of a custodial sentence behind bars.

Oscar Pistorius release delayed
Oscar Pistorius competing for South Africa. Image via Twitter.
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Though technically under house arrest, he will likely be allowed to leave his luxury prison – which contains a private gym and pool, landscaped gardens and more than a dozen bedrooms – to work, carry out community service and attend significant family events.

It’s not just the Pistorius case which is making a mockery of South Africa’s judicial system. Around 50 people are murdered every day in the country — in which women are five times more likely to be killed than anywhere else in the world — and only a small portion of the hundreds of thousands crimes reported to police each year are actually prosecuted. In 2005-2006, this figure was 14 per cent.

Oscar Pistorius release delayed
Oscar Pistorius listening to his verdict. Image via Getty.

None of these statistics are solace to the Steenkamp family who, devastated by the news of Pistorius’ sentence, earlier wrote a moving letter to the parole board.

“We do not seek to avenge her death and we do not want Mr Pistorius to suffer; that will not bring her back to us,” it read.

“However, a person found guilty of a crime must be held accountable for their actions.

“Statistics show that our society is under continuous attack from criminals and murderers. Incarceration of 10 months for taking a life is simply not enough. We fear that this will not send out the proper message and serve as the deterrent it should.”

For a country disillusioned by a broken justice system, it is a criminal shame no one seemed to be listening.

For more on the case, try these articles:

Oscar Pistorius trial: These are the six facts that weren’t enough to prove murder.

The Oscar Pistorius footage the world was never meant to see.

Oscar Pistorius describes the ‘night that changed everything’.

Oscar Pistorius: “The trial of the century”

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