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.
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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid