Pistorius gets bail, 'does not represent flight risk'

UINT
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."

"We trust and hope that justice will prevail."

Before announcing his ruling, the magistrate recounted the four days of conflicting arguments by the lawyers. Pistorius's shoulders shook with emotion and tears fell from his eyes as, at one point, Magistrate Nair said, "The deceased died in his arms."

Magistrate Nair took issue particularly with the testimony and actions of the prosecution's lead investigator, Detective Warrant Officer Hilton Botha, who has since been removed from the case, saying the officer made "several errors and concessions" and "blundered" in gathering evidence.

Ultimately, he said, Pistorius had helped his case for bail by providing a sworn affidavit to the court setting out his version of events.

In the court of law--There are several key points where testimony at the Oscar Pistorius bail hearing conflicted between the prosecution and the defence

KILLING

Prosecution: Pistorius knew his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was in the toilet stall when he fired through the door.

Defence: The shooting was a tragic accident; he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.

PROSTHETICS

Prosecution: Pistorius, a double amputee, took the time to put on his prosthetic legs and walk to the bathroom where he fired the gun.

Defence: He did not put on the prosthetics and was on his stumps and felt vulnerable when he shot through the toilet door.

Did HE NOTICE STEENKAMP

WAS NOT IN BED ?

Prosecution: He had to go through the bedroom to get to the bathroom and must have known she was not in the bed.

Defence: It was dark in the bedroom. He thought she was asleep in bed.

SUBSTANCE DISCOVERED

Prosecution: At one point, Detective Warrant Officer Hilton Botha told the court that police found syringes and two boxes of testosterone in Pistorius' bedroom — testimony the prosecution later withdrew, saying it was too early to identify the substance, which was still being tested.

Defence: It's a herbal remedy — not a steroid or banned substance.

WAS THERE AN ARGUMENT?

Prosecution: The couple had an argument loud enough to disturb neighbors well before the shooting.

Defence: He and Steenkamp had gone to bed, falling asleep hours before the shooting.

PHONE CALLS

Prosecution: No calls for help to police or ambulance service on any of the four cell phones found in the bathroom and bedroom. Estate guards called Pistorius who told them he was "all right". The call was not disconnected and they could hear him crying.

Defence: He called the manager of the housing estate and asked him to call for an ambulance. He also called a private paramedic service. His lawyers say there was a fifth phone that was used to make the calls.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views, opinions and comments posted are your, and are not endorsed by this website. You shall be solely responsible for the comment posted here. The website reserves the right to delete, reject, or otherwise remove any views, opinions and comments posted or part thereof. You shall ensure that the comment is not inflammatory, abusive, derogatory, defamatory &/or obscene, or contain pornographic matter and/or does not constitute hate mail, or violate privacy of any person (s) or breach confidentiality or otherwise is illegal, immoral or contrary to public policy. Nor should it contain anything infringing copyright &/or intellectual property rights of any person(s).
comments powered by Disqus