News / Africa

Judge Clears Pistorius for Travel

Oscar Pistorius's lawyers Barry Roux (L) and Brian Webber prepare documents before the start of the application to appeal some of his bail conditions at a Pretoria court in Pretoria, March 28, 2013.
Oscar Pistorius's lawyers Barry Roux (L) and Brian Webber prepare documents before the start of the application to appeal some of his bail conditions at a Pretoria court in Pretoria, March 28, 2013.
A South African judge has eased bail restrictions on Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius, clearing the path for him to compete in athletic events abroad once again.

Pistorius can now head overseas, drink alcohol, live without random police visits and drug tests, and he can return to the home where he shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp, his model girlfriend.

The South African Olympian was not in court Thursday morning, but his attorneys argued in his absence that the bail conditions set late last month by Magistrate Desmond Nair were far too strict.

South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius appears at the Magistrate Court in Pretoria on February 22, 2013.South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius appears at the Magistrate Court in Pretoria on February 22, 2013.
x
South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius appears at the Magistrate Court in Pretoria on February 22, 2013.
South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius appears at the Magistrate Court in Pretoria on February 22, 2013.
High Court Judge Bert Bam did not hold back on criticism of the magistrate's original bail conditions. "The term entitling the correctional officer to visit the appellant at any reasonable time, day or night, to ascertain the appellant's 'well-being and compliance with thee conditions,' is absolutely unfair, unreasonable and in total disregard to the appellant's right to privacy and family life," he said.

The judge said the original bail conditions seemed to disregard the circumstances of the case.

"The magistrate, in my view, misdirected himself in reasoning the appellant was not, in the circumstances, entitled to less stringent bail conditions. The magistrate should have kept in mind that every case has to be dealt with on its own merits. Accordingly, I find the magistrate's decision not to grant the appellant the right to use his passport was wrong," said Bam.

Prosecutor Gerry Nel opposed the appeal on the grounds that Pistorius' attorneys should have returned to the magistrate's court rather than ask the high court to ease the bail conditions. His argument gained little traction with the judge, who granted all parts of the appeal, including a request for relaxation of conditions that had not been entered in court records, but only were read aloud during the concluding session of last month's bail hearing.

Defense lawyer Barry Roux said Pistorius has no immediate plans to compete in any athletic events, but since the case is expected to drag on for months, he should be able to resume athletic competition and earn a living.

"It's only, only, only to earn income. That's his sole source of income, whatever can come from that. No other reason and under the controlled circumstances," said Roux.

Pistorius still faces murder charges for killing Steenkamp at his home on February 14. The trial is not expected to begin until late this year.

Judge Bam said Pistorius can travel internationally if he documents his travel plans to prosecuting attorneys at least seven days in advance, and returns his passport to authorities after he is back in South Africa.

Medupe Simasiku, spokesman for the prosecution, did not comment on the court decision, but said he expects that Pistorius will abide by all rules set by the judge.

"We believe that he will comply by the bail conditions and whatever his legal representatives have said will be able to be kept as promised, and he will be able to attend court as required," said Simasiku.

Pistorius' next court appearance is set for June 4, when indictments are expected to be handed down by the prosecution.

  • Oscar Pistorius's lawyers Barry Roux (L) and Brian Webber prepare documents before the start of the application to appeal some of his bail conditions at a Pretoria court, March 28, 2013.
  • State prosecutor Gerrie Nel prepares for a hearing in the Pretoria, South Africa high court, March 28, 2013.
  • February 22, 2013: Oscar Pistorius in court in Pretoria, South Africa for his bail hearing.
  • Relatives of Oscar Pistorius hug each other ahead of proceedings at the Pretoria magistrates court February 22, 2013.
  • Reeva Steenkamp's casket arrives ahead of her funeral ceremony in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, February 19, 2013.
  • Feb. 19, 2013: Carl Pistorius, right, and Henke Pistorius, the brother and father of Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, charged with the shooting death of his girlfriend attend Oscar's bail hearing at the magistrate court in Pretoria, South Africa.
  • Investigating officer Hilton Botha, the lead detective in the Pistorius murder case, during a break in proceedings, February 21, 2013.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs