Oscar Pistorius free to compete in Moscow after bail conditions are changed to allow foreign travel
Relaxation of bail terms means runner accused of murder could participate in summer championships
Thursday 28 March 2013
Oscar Pistorius could compete in August's World Athletics Championships, despite facing trial for the murder of his girlfriend, after a High Court judge eased his bail restrictions to allow him to travel abroad, compete and drink alcohol.
Despite describing murder as “the most serious charge possible for a man”, Judge Bert Bam said the bail conditions imposed on the athlete by Magistrate Desmond Nair were “unfair” and “misdirected”.
Judge Bam said that bail conditions should not contain any kind of “anticipatory punishment” for the crime a defendant is charged with. He added that the original bail restrictions contained a “punitive element”, while upholding the appeal for all of the changes requested by Pistorius’ defence team.
Pistorius’ lawyer, Barry Roux, said the athlete’s original bail conditions – which included a ban on alcohol, regular visits from a probation officer and travel restrictions – amounted to “house arrest”.
“Why would this athlete now go to a country without extradition, go and hide somewhere?,” said Roux. “[Athletics] is his only source of income. He has no desire to compete now but it will change,” Roux said.
“I find no reason why the applicant should be forbidden from leaving the Republic of South Africa if he’s invited to compete in athletic events in other countries,” Judge Bam told a packed room at the North Gauteng High Court. “The magistrate’s condition not to grant his passport was wrong.”
Under his amended conditions, Pistorius will have to inform the state a week before he plans to travel beyond South Africa’s borders, provide a full intinerary, and return his passport to a court within 24 hours of returning home. Pistorius’ agent, Peet van Zyl, had previously said the athlete had not been in training since the shooting, but says he could now even compete in the World Athletics Championship in Moscow this August. The Paralympian has not run competitively since last September.
“Based on this [judge’s decision], and if he is up for it and qualifies, the world championships will definitely be on the radar,” van Zyl said.
The International Amateur Athletics Foundation, which runs the sport, said in a statement that Pistorius would be allowed to run at the tournament, “on the basis of the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ principle,” – if he is fast enough.
Pistorius is accused of the premeditated murder of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, after he shot her through a bathroom door in the early hours of Valentine’s Day. He says he killed the reality TV star by accident, believing she was an intruder, but prosecutors say he shot her intentionally after they had a row.
Pistorius will now be able to return home to the scene of the shooting despite the prosecution’s stated concerns that he might interfere with the investigation and interact with witnesses.
Pistorius’ case will be back in court on June 4, when the prosecution hopes to set a concrete trial date.
Medupe Simasiku, a spokesman for South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority said the state prosecution now be focusing on the upcoming trial “with all their minds”.
“The investigation is going well and we believe that soon it will be completed. When it is completed, that is when we’ll know the trial date,” he said.
Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments
- 1 Is Apple's iCloud safe after leak of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities' nude photos?
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
iPhone 6 'hidden code' could indicate sharper screens or bigger phones
Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Ariana Grande nude photo leak: 'These are completely fake'
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
London 'terror threat': Metropolitan police deny tube attack hoax
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...
£45000 - £53000 Per Annum plus bonus plus package: The Green Recruitment Compa...
£110 - £135 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Outstan...
£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer SQL, C#, VBA, Data Warehousi...