Feb 22, 2013 No Comments ›› Spit Stixx
Excerpted from The Telegraph: Oscar Pistorius bailed - Paralympian freed pending trial over Reeva Steenkamp’s death
It took two agonising hours for the magistrate to deliver his verdict, but when he granted Oscar Pistorius bail, the decision was greeted with cheers from the public gallery and tears from the defendant.
The world’s most famous Paralympian – nicknamed Blade Runner – was released from custody on Friday after Desmond Nair, the magistrate, said he was satisfied Pistorius did not pose a flight risk, nor was likely to interfere with witnesses.
He said the state had not presented a case that was “strong or watertight” enough to guarantee conviction, impelling the athlete to flee South Africa.
As he granted the 26-year-old bail, however, Mr Nair added that although he would not judge Pistorius at his eventual trial, he believed there were some serious holes in the athlete’s version of how he came to shoot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The magistrate’s decision was greeted with shouts of “yes!” from friends of the Olympian in the public gallery but Pistorius’ only reaction was to drop his head and weep as his family reached out to touch him.
On Friday night, Pistorius was reportedly driven to his uncle’s home in a wealthy suburb of Pretoria, where he asked to have his first bath in eight days.
The athlete is charged with premeditated murder, under Schedule Six of the Criminal Procedure Act, which places the onus on the defendant to show why he deserves bail. Nonetheless, the magistrate decided that Pistorius met this high requirement.
Under the bail conditions, Pistorius will be confined to Pretoria – unless granted special permission – until his murder trial, which could be at least a year away. He faces a possible life sentence if convicted.
As well as paying R1m (£73,000) in surety, he must report to a police station twice a week – Monday and Friday – surrender his passports and firearms, refrain from drinking alcohol and stay away from all airports. He is also banned from his home in Pretoria, where Miss Steenkamp died in the early hours of St Valentine’s Day.
Around an hour after the decision was announced, Pistorius was driven away from court in the back of a silver Land Rover Discovery, sitting alongside his sister Aimee.
Emerging from the holding cell where his brother was taken after the decision was announced, Carl Pistorius said the sportsman was “relieved”, but added: “It’s a long road ahead.”