Pistorius released on bail after girlfriend's killing

Friday, 22 February 2013
By James Crook

oscar pistorius 220213February 22 - Oscar Pistorius wept in court today as he was granted bail after spending a week in custody charged with the fatal shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. 

Magistrate Desmond Nair deliberated his verdict for over two hours before granting the Paralympic champion bail to cheers in the South African courtroom, with the next hearing set for June 4. 

The prosecution claimed bail should not be granted to the 26-year-old sprinter as he had the "money, means and motive" to abscond - an argument which was rubbished by Nair, who said that the state had not made a case to suggest that he would do so and that Pistorius does not "pose a danger to society".

"The state cannot show its case is so strong and watertight that the applicant must feel the need to flee," he said.

The Magistrate also stated, however, that he could not understand why Pistorius decided to open fire in the way he did, shooting Steenkamp from behind a locked bathroom door four times in the head and body.

"I have difficulty in appreciating the accused did not ascertain the whereabouts of his girlfriend when he got off the bed," he said

"I have difficulty with the accused not seeking to verify who was in the toilet when he could of ask.

"I have difficulty understanding why the deceased didn't scream back from the toilet."

161681372Oscar Pistorius has been released on bail and will return to court on June 4 to face murder charges over the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Nair criticised former lead detective Hilton Botha's "errors and concessions" as warrant officer.

Botha was dropped from the case yesterday after it emerged that he stands accused of seven charges of attempted murder.

Pistorius claims that he thought there was an intruder in his bathroom, which led him to shoot, before realising that his girlfriend was not in bed. 

He was released on a bond of one million rand (£73,000/$111,000/€84,000).

The conditions of his bail state that Pistorius must live at an undisclosed address, surrender his passport and firearms, and report to a local police station between 7am and 1pm every Monday and Friday. 

He is also forbidden to drink alcohol, and must stay away from the Silver Lakes estate in Pretoria where he lived.

162347927Supporters outside the court in Pretoria sent messages of support to Pistorius

Pistorius stands accused of Steenkamp's murder but a statement from his family and management said "the alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms".

Despite admitting to shooting his 29-year-old girlfriend with a nine millimetre pistol, Pistorius claims he thought there was an intruder in his bathroom and he fired at the door in the dark as he was too scared to turn on the light.

"I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated murder, as I had no intention to kill my girlfriend," he said in a statement during the trial.

"We were deeply in love and could not be happier.

"I know she felt the same way."

Earlier this week, police also reported finding testosterone and syringes at the athlete's home, which the defence claim was in fact testo-composutim co-enzyme, which is used as temporary relief for symptoms associated with male sexual weakness such as a lack of stamina, nocturnal emissions and male hormone imbalance.

Steenkamp's private memorial service was held on Tuesday (February 19) in Port Elizabeth. 

Contact the writer of this story at james.crook@insidethegames.biz 


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