South Africa: Oscar Pistorius granted bail

Pistorius’s legal team will appeal former athlete's murder conviction in constitutional court

South Africa: Oscar Pistorius granted bail

Pistorius’s legal team will appeal former athlete’s murder conviction in constitutional court

By Hassan Isilow

PRETORIA, South Africa – A South African high court on Tuesday granted 10,000 rand bail ($690) to former South African Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

“The case is postponed to 18 April 2016. The applicant is released on a bail of 10,000 rand,” Deputy Judge President, Aubrey Ledwaba read out in his ruling.

Last week, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein found Pistorius guilty of his girlfriend’s murder and overturned his earlier manslaughter conviction.

Among Pistorius’s bail conditions, the former athlete will not leave his uncle’s house in Pretoria without getting permission from the investigating officer involved in his case.

His movements will be restricted to a 20-kilometer [12 mile] radius from the property.

Judge Ledwaba also asked Pistorius to hand over all his passports and to refrain from applying for any travel documents until the case was concluded.

He will also be electronically tagged so the authorities can monitor his movements.

Defense lawyer Barry Roux told the court his team would apply to appeal the murder conviction against Pistorius in the country’s constitutional court.

He said if their application failed they will return to the Pretoria high court to have their client sentenced.

According to South African law, a murder conviction carries a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Pistorius, 29, fired a handgun at a locked toilet door in his Pretoria home in February 2013 killing his girlfriend.

The double amputee athlete claimed he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder when he opened fire on Valentine’s Day.

Last year, Judge Thokozile Masipa convicted Pistorius of manslaughter and sentenced him to five years in prison.

He was, however, released on parole two months ago and put under house arrest having spent less than a year of his five-year manslaughter sentence behind bars.

However, the state appealed his manslaughter conviction, claiming the trial judge had made errors of law.

The Supreme Court of Appeal last week found Pistorius guilty of murder based on an argument revolving around the legal concept of ‘indirect intention’ – whether Pistorius had anticipated the possibility that he might kill somebody when he fired four shots from behind a closed door.

“I have no doubt that in firing the fatal shots the accused must have foreseen that whoever was behind the toilet door might die but reconciled with that event occurring and gambled with that person’s life,” Judge Eric Leach had said.

He also found that Masipa had applied the concept incorrectly and ignored vital ballistics evidence in her judgment.

Pistorius won a gold medal at the Athens Paralympic Games at the age of 17, turning him into a national hero. In 2012 he became the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympics.