News / Africa

South African 'Blade Runner' Granted Bail

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.
TEXT SIZE - +
Anita Powell
— South African track star Oscar Pistorius was granted bail Friday ahead of his trial for murdering his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.  The ruling came after four dramatic days of testimony in what has become South Africa’s most gripping court case since the end of apartheid. 

After four days of testimony, Magistrate Desmond Nair ruled that the athlete would be released on bail ahead of his trial for murdering Steenkamp.

But the decision clearly weighed on the professorial magistrate.  Nair spoke for nearly two hours, even taking a lengthy detour into 17th century English law and South African law going back to the Boer war.  

The courtroom, jam-packed with madly tweeting journalists from around the world, collectively held its breath as he appeared to go back and forth on his decision.

But finally, the judge rendered his decision. "I've come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail," he said.

Relatives of Oscar Pistorius hug each other ahead of proceedings at the Pretoria magistrates court on Feb. 22, 2013.Relatives of Oscar Pistorius hug each other ahead of proceedings at the Pretoria magistrates court on Feb. 22, 2013.
x
Relatives of Oscar Pistorius hug each other ahead of proceedings at the Pretoria magistrates court on Feb. 22, 2013.
Relatives of Oscar Pistorius hug each other ahead of proceedings at the Pretoria magistrates court on Feb. 22, 2013.
Pistorius’ family, which has been faithfully attending the proceedings in Nair's Pretoria court cheered after the decision was announced.

Bail conditions

Nair set the bail at 1 million rand, about $100,000. Pistorius is required to check in with police twice a week, to stay away from his house, to turn over his passports and not leave South Africa and to appear in court June 4 for his trial.

And Pistorius must hand in all of his firearms as a bail condition.

Ahead of the day’s events, Pistorius’ longtime coach Ampie Louw, said he anticipated getting the runner back on the track as soon as possible. 

“The change is just that he's heartbroken, that's all," Louw said.  "And for me it's tough to see that.  You cannot reach out, sit next to him and say, ‘Sorry, man, this is a terrible accident,’ but I cannot do it.  I must just sit here and give my support to him and that's all.  I think just to get his mind cleared, the sooner he can start with a bit of work, the better.”

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel fought hard in an eloquent hourlong address to the court.  In it, he vigorously questioned the plausibility of Pistorius’ claim that he shot his girlfriend of three months on accident after mistaking her for a burglar.

“We say that the court should refuse bail.  The applicant has onus, the applicant gave a version that is totally improbable.  The state gave a version based on objective fact,” Nel argued.

Defense lawyer Barry Roux reiterated Pistorius’ argument in asking for bail.  He also raised two possibilities at the upcoming trial.

“And the question ultimately would be: how would a reasonable man have acted in the same circumstances?  That’s a very different test, and of course if he acted outside what a reasonable person would have," Roux noted, "then he’s exposed to be convicted of culpable homicide.  If … the finding is that he acted as a reasonable person taking everything in account, he will be acquitted.”

Even though the trial is months away, after this week's hearing, there’s no doubt that it will be closely followed around the world.

  • Olympic and Paralympic running star Oscar Pistorius stands during court proceedings at the Pretoria Magistrates court, August 19, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius cries as he prays with his sister Aimee and brother Carl in the magistrates court in Pretoria, South Africa, August 19, 2013.
  • A man holds signs ahead of the court proceedings of Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria Magistrates court, August 19, 2013.
  • A woman holds a photo of Reeva Steenkamp as she leaves her funeral in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, February 19, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius weeps in court at his bail hearing in Pretoria, February 15, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg, November 4, 2012.
  • A newspaper vendor sets up his stall outside court ahead of Pistorius' court appearance in Pretoria, February 15, 2013.
  • Carl Pistorius, brother of Oscar, attends his brother's court appearance in Pretoria February 15, 2013.
  • This aerial image taken from video provided by VNS24/7 shows the home of Oscar Pistorius in a gated housing complex in Pretoria, South Africa, February 14, 2013.
  • Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria, South Africa, February 14, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius celebrates winning the men's 400 meter final during the London 2012 Paralympic Games, September 8, 2012.
  • Pistorius celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men's 400m T44 classification during the London 2012 Paralympic Games, September 8, 2012.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: D. Kimpinski from: Barrie Ontario
February 22, 2013 12:33 PM

I'd like to know about the cricket (BAT) if there was any blood on it, and whose blood, it belong to.I don't think he's telling it quite right.


by: Dan StlMo
February 22, 2013 11:09 AM
They couldn't make him wear an ankle bracelet?


by: Anonymous from: slobby
February 22, 2013 10:01 AM
Love the S African courtrooms. Awesome lighting.


by: hitman from: us
February 22, 2013 9:56 AM
Looks like the judge is setting this killer up to walk!

In Response

by: Ben ghazi from: Earth
February 22, 2013 11:06 AM
I guess the judge felt he wouldn't go on the run.

In Response

by: ranger01 from: New Hampshire
February 22, 2013 10:58 AM
No, the judge is setting him up for a reasonably fair trial. You know, sort of like it should be in a law court, in 2013.


by: Confused
February 22, 2013 9:51 AM
Just like a certain gentleman who ws released from prison with an illness and took up golf.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid