Plaster on Reeva's parents' wounds 'ripped open' over Pistorius parole process

The Steenkamps’ lawyer, Tanya Koen, told 702's John Perlman that the parole board had decided to convene late last month, but Reeva’s parents had not been consulted.

FILE: Reeva Steenkamp's mother June leaves the Pretoria High Court on 3 March 2014. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - As former Paralympian and convicted killer Oscar Pistorius is now being considered for parole and the Department of Correctional Services starts preparing Reeva Steenkamp's family to participate in a forum called "victim-offender dialogue," the legal representatives of the Steenkamp family say the handling of the process had hurt the late model's parents.

Pistorius has served half of his sentence in the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre, west of Pretoria, for the murder of his girlfriend on Valentine's Day in 2013.

He was initially found guilty of culpable homicide, but when he appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2015, that was changed to murder.

Pistorius has reportedly indicated that he is willing to meet with Steenkamp’s parents as part of the parole process.

The Steenkamps’ lawyer, Tanya Koen, told 702's John Perlman on Monday that the parole board had decided to convene late last month, but Reeva’s parents had not been consulted.

"Barry and June Steenkamp have always obviously been aware because I have prepared them that at some point in time, Oscar - as with any other offender - will be eligible for parole. We thought he would be eligible in March 2023. So, when the Department of Correctional Services contacted me to enter into dialogue with the Steenkamps, we were under the impression that it was discussed whether they would be prepared to enter into a victim-offender dialogue.

"Unfortunately, two days before the meeting with the Steenkamps, the department contacted me to cancel that meeting. To add further insult to injury, Oscar's attorney Julian Knight advised me on October 18 that the parole board had informed him that they would be convening on the 27th or the 29th of October, that came as a further shock to the family.

"We have had correspondence with the department because there are certain statutory requirements that they had to follow, which they did not follow. I was then subsequently advised that the board will not be convening on the 27th or the 29th of October.

"They are open-minded because they've always said that the law must take its course, so they are well aware of what the law is, that a certain process must be followed. Even though their personal feeling is that they are hurt, the pain just resurfaces, it is as if the plaster that they have managed to place over their wounds has been ripped open because of the manner in which things have been dealt with. We are supposed to have a victim-centric approach.

"Knight and I had been in contact with each other and we are of the same mind that proper procedure wasn't followed. They acknowledge that they understand that they know that because besides the offender-victim dialogue that they did not follow that procedure, there are also certain reports that must be put before the parole board and these reports are not available.

"The parole board would not have been able to convene and apply their minds. It was premature for the department to have considered the parole board convening on that date."

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