PRETORIA— 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.
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."
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.