26 February 2013

South Africa: Nair Grants Pistorius Bail

Pretoria — Pretoria Magistrate Desmond Nair has ruled that athlete Oscar Pistorius will be released on bail after the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

"I come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail," said Nair as he delivered his bail decision in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on Friday afternoon.

Bail has been set at R1 million. Pistorius can be released after paying an amount of R100 000.

Among other conditions, he must hand over all passports and firearms.

Pistorius was charged last Friday with the murder of Steenkamp on Valentine's Day. He had been detained at the Brooklyn police station.

Nair said none of the factors for refusing bail had been established. He didn't believe Pistorius was a flight risk or that he would interfere with state witnesses or that there was proper evidence that his release on bail would cause a public outrage and that he did not have a propensity for violence.

Also, he said the accused had offered a version of what happened in his affidavit at a very early stage. He had tried to reach out to meet the state's case, said Nair.

Nair said it was practically impossible for the state to have all the pieces of the puzzle within a week.

"The defence has failed to show this court that there is weakness in the state's case to the point that it can show an exceptional circumstance. However, [the state] can't show that its case is so strong and watertight that he feels he needs to flee or evade his trial."

Nair stuck to his earlier ruling to treat the charge against Pistorius as a schedule six offence, however, it was not up to him to find him guilty or not.

Pistorius's family members have attended the court proceedings.

Pistorius will appear in court on 4 June.


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