Oscar Pistorius set to fight stringent bail conditions


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The Independent Online

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius will fight the stringent bail conditions set after he was charged with murdering his girlfriend, his defence team says.

The South African athlete, who is accused of killing model Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day, was granted one million rand (£73,000) bail, and released from police custody a fortnight ago.

The athlete’s defence team has confirmed that they lodged papers at the North Gauteng High Court today to modify the restrictions imposed by a lower court, but refused to give details.

Local television station eNCA, which reported the application, described several modifications to Pistorius’ bail conditions that the athlete’s defence team is hoping a judge will agree to.

The original restrictions include supervision by a probation officer, alongside compulsory drug and alcohol testing. Magistrate Desmond Nair also imposed travel restrictions, both within and beyond South Africa’s borders, prohibiting Pistorius from returning to the his Silver Woods estate home where the shooting took place. Nair expressed concerns that Pistorius would interfere with potential witnesses – and the investigation.

Pistorius reportedly wants all of these conditions relaxed, claiming they are unwarranted and unfair. eNCA reported that the Paralympian wants to be able to travel abroad with police permission, given that during his bail application Magistrate Nair found that he was not a proven flight risk, sparking speculation that he may want to re-enter the competitive athletic circuit.

Pistorius’ agent Peet van Zyl said he was unaware of any such move, especially the suggestion the Paralympian may want to travel abroad. 

“He’s been withdrawn from all international competitions,” he told The Independent, “And I haven’t re-entered him into any of those. He’s not even training.”

Pistorius’ lawyer Kenny Oldwage told The Independent that, although a date has yet to be set, he expects the matter will be dealt with in court. He added that it would be unusual for Pistorius to appear at such a hearing.

The state prosecution said they had not yet received any documentation relating to revision of Pistorius’ bail conditions.  “As far as I’m aware, nothing has been filed. The defence would have to send us that kind of thing,” Medupe Simasiku from the country’s National Prosecuting Authority said.

The conditions for Pistorius’ bail were determined in court after a four-day hearing. Magistrate Nair disregarded an informal agreement made between both legal teams for a lesser amount of bail money, and fewer conditions, choosing instead to impose a comprehensive set of restrictions.

Pistorius alleges Ms Steenkamp’s death – after he shot her several times through a toilet cubicle door – was an accident, as he believed her to be an intruder.