May 21, 2013
South African court grants Pistorius bail
A South African court granted bail to Oscar Pistorius, charged with the murder of his girlfriend, after his lawyers argued the "Blade Runner" was too famous to pose a flight risk.
The decision by Magistrate Desmond Nair drew cheers from the athlete's family and supporters, although he appeared unmoved. Pistorius had broken down in tears earlier in the week-long hearing.
The court set bail at 1 million rand ($113,000) and postponed the case until June 4. Pistorius was ordered to hand over firearms and passports, avoid his home and all witnesses in the case, report to a police station twice a week and not to drink alcohol.
The decision followed a week of dramatic testimony about how the athlete shot dead Reeva Steenkamp at his luxury home near Pretoria in the early hours of Feb. 14, Valentine's Day.
Prosecutors said Pistorius, 26, committed premeditated murder when he fired four shots into a locked bathroom door, hitting his girlfriend cowering on the other side. Steenkamp, 29, suffered gunshot wounds to her head, hip and arm.
Pistorius' defence team argued the killing was a tragic mistake, saying the athlete had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder. They said he was too famous to pose a flight risk and deserved bail to prepare for a case that has drawn worldwide attention.
"He can never go anywhere unnoticed," his lawyer Barry Roux told the court on Friday.
The 26-year-old Olympic and Paralympic star's lower legs were amputated in infancy and he has raced on carbon fibre blades.
The Olympic and Paralympic star faces life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder.
Prosecutors had portrayed him as a cold-blooded killer.
"You cannot put yourself in the deceased's position. It must have been terrifying. It was not one shot. It was four shots," prosecutor Gerrie Nel said on Friday.