News / Africa

Reactions Stream In on Pistorius Bail Decision

Oscar Pistorius is seen through a car window as he leaves court after being granted bail, in Pretoria, South Africa, Feb. 22, 2013.
Oscar Pistorius is seen through a car window as he leaves court after being granted bail, in Pretoria, South Africa, Feb. 22, 2013.
— An audible sigh of relief went up in the courtroom when the Chief Magistrate announced that South African Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius could be released on bail. For Pistorius' friends and family, it was a brief moment of celebration.

Since the bail hearing in his murder case started on Tuesday, famed double amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius has been coming and going from the Pretoria Magistrate Court in the back of a police vehicle, usually with a blanket covering his head.

On Friday afternoon, Pistorius left court in a silver Range Rover, with darkened windows. While many in the media gave chase, it was the first taste of freedom the South African Olympian has had since he was arrested in the early morning hours of February 14 for shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The prosecution claims it was a premeditated murder, the defense claims Pistorius mistook his girlfriend for a burglar.  

Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius' uncle, Arnold Pistorius, speaks to journalists at the end of the bail hearing at the magistrate court in Pretoria, South Africa, Feb. 22, 2013.Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius' uncle, Arnold Pistorius, speaks to journalists at the end of the bail hearing at the magistrate court in Pretoria, South Africa, Feb. 22, 2013.
x
Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius' uncle, Arnold Pistorius, speaks to journalists at the end of the bail hearing at the magistrate court in Pretoria, South Africa, Feb. 22, 2013.
Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius' uncle, Arnold Pistorius, speaks to journalists at the end of the bail hearing at the magistrate court in Pretoria, South Africa, Feb. 22, 2013.
Pistorius' uncle, Arnold Pistorius, gave the only family statement after the bail decision Friday afternoon.

"Yes, we are relieved, with the fact that Oscar got bail today," he said. "But at the same time we are in mourning for the death of Reeva, with her family."

He maintained his nephew's story is true, saying, "As a family, we know Oscar's version of what happened that tragic night. We know that that is the truth and that will prevail in the coming court cases."

Medupe Simasiku, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, said the prosecution has to focus on the trial.

"It's not necessarily disappointing," Simasiku said. "It's normal in the criminal justice system that the bail can be granted or denied. Definitely we accept that it has been granted. Accepting it is not a point where we are going to be disappointed and lose hope in this case, we have this confidence we will make through this case."

Outside of the courthouse, there were both supporters and those who felt Pistorius should be kept locked up.

Down the street from the courthouse, Pretoria resident Steve Fourie felt Pistorius should stay inside.

"He should not get bail. Definitely not," he said. "If you have money in this country, you can get out of this country very easily. It's not a problem. And I think he will go out of the country…I'm not a big fan at the moment of him. It's very cruel what he did to an innocent person. He took a life."

South Africa PistoriusSouth Africa Pistorius
x
South Africa Pistorius
South Africa Pistorius
Sarida Bezuidenhout, who drove an hour from Rustenburg to stand outside of the courthouse, had a different take.

"I'm just here to support him. Just to let him know that my heart is going out to him," she said. "I feel sorry for him and I always believe, and I tell my kids that too, You're innocent until proven guilty."

While reactions to the bail decision stream in, the bigger decision for Pistorius is further down the line. His next court appearance is set for June 4.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anne
February 23, 2013 5:35 PM
After noting every detail in this case, I can start to believe that what he did was a terrible mistake. The reaction in the courtroom was not of selfishness but of trauma and overwhelming remorse. A person who reacts like that, on a daily basis, is emotionally incapable of looking at someone in the eye and taking their life. To note, these kinds of situations happen in South Africa more often that you think, family relatives being mistaken for intruders. If this was a family relative, or anyone else, other than a girlfriend, I think the case wouldn't be getting as much attention. We're just so use to believing the scenario of the abusive and controlling male partner one day just losing it in a fit of rage and killing his girlfriend/wife/significant other in cold blood; that ideology is so engrained in us that even if the truth were to be said, many of us wouldn't be able to see it. Many of the details from the case that were originally reported, such as the bloody bat, were fabricated. The domestic assault they are referring to wasn't even an assault. He asked a woman to leave his property, she refused, and he slammed the door in front of her, accidentally catching her foot. We will have to wait and see at the trail, but this kind of behaviour from a person who is accused of premeditated murder is actually quite abnormal, when compared to all the other criminals.


by: thebun from: usa
February 22, 2013 6:43 PM
While I felt much emotional pain for the death of a woman I don't even know, I also felt empathy for Oscar, also someone I don't know, only because the look of grief and shock on his face was that
of a very broken young man who may have actually made a horrible mistake and actually took the life of his beloved by accident, and he was trying to deal with his intense personal pain.I too believe that you are innocent til proven guilty.

In Response

by: Andy Lord
February 23, 2013 6:08 AM
One word that cannot be applied to Oscar is "innocent." He killed that woman. The only question is why. At the very best, he is guilty of negligent manslaughter, or as you referred to it, "a horrible mistake." His intense personal pain could just as easily be interpreted as the anguish of someone who knows he's going to prison--even if he's telling the truth, he's a trigger-happy loose cannon who very negligently snuffed out a wonderful young woman without taking the most normal precautions. His life will never be the same--deservedly so.

In Response

by: Baraka from: USA
February 22, 2013 11:53 PM
Watching Oscar at the Olympics overcoming his shortcomings inspired me to start going to the gym and quit complaining of my asthma! so far i have lost 25 lbs down to 145 lbs! Feeling lots of empathy and compassion to each side of the family and may the truth prevail. RIP Reeva.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
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.
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.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid