Pistorius gets bail, 'does not represent flight risk'


After four days of combative hearings, a South African magistrate Friday granted bail to Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee track star accused of murdering his girlfriend in a case that has horrified and fascinated the nation and much of the world.

Magistrate Desmond Nair announced the decision after impassioned final arguments from the defence and the prosecution in Courtroom C of the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.

The magistrate said Pistorius did not represent a flight risk and was not likely to interfere with state witnesses. "The accused has made a case to be released on bail," he concluded, while the prosecution had not established a case for detaining him. Pistorius's family members in the packed courtroom shouted, "Yes!"

Magistrate Nair set bail at 1 million rand, about $112,000, and ordered a series of conditions before the case was adjourned to June 4. Pistorius was told to relinquish firearms and passports and avoid his upscale home in a gated community where he shot to death his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in what he has called an accident and prosecutors have called premeditated murder. The home is now a crime scene.

The unusually tight restrictions on Pistorius also included a prohibition on making contact with witnesses.

The athlete was also told that he could not leave the Pretoria area without official permission and could not use drugs or alcohol while the trial was pending. He was instructed to report to a police station twice a week.

Arnold Pistorius, an uncle who has acted as family spokesman, told reporters: "We are relieved by the fact that Oscar got bail today, but at the same time, we are in mourning for Reeva Steenkamp and her family."

But Kim Myers, a friend of Steenkamp, said: "I think it is important to remember that someone lost their life."

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