PRETORIA - Oscar Pistorius has been granted R1 million bail in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
Pistorius is accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in a premeditated act. The incident happened at his Silver Woods home in Pretoria East on Valentine's Day.
Magistrate Desmond Nair took two hours to hand down judgment in the Paralympic athlete's bail application.
The Pistorius family gasped with relief when Nair granted him bail. They then huddled together to pray.
The family's spokesperson Mulligan Pearce said while they were relieved the 'Blade Runner' received bail they still recognised the severity of Steenkamp's death.
“This is still a very sad time for Reeva’s family and for us. We are grateful the magistrate recognised the validity and strength of our application. As a family, we are convinced Oscar’s version of what happened that night will prove to be true," said Pearce.
Nair set strict conditions for the Paralympian.
“Bail is fixed at an amount of R1 million. A cash amount of R100,000 will be deposited to the clerk in Pretoria, plus a further R900,000."
The athlete will have to report to the Brooklyn Police Station between 7am and 1pm every Monday and Friday. He must also hand in both his passports and undergo regular drug and alcohol tests.
The court also ordered Pistorius to hand over his firearms to the authorities.
He is not allowed near his Silver Woods home where he shot Steenkamp.
“A correctional official may visit the accused at any reasonable time, day or night, to ascertain the accused’s wellbeing and compliance with his conditions.
“The accused shall provide the probation officer and correctional official with his cellphone number and shall be available to be contacted at any time during the day or night," said the magistrate.
SCHEDULE SIX CASE
Earlier, Nair said he would continue to approach the matter as a Schedule Six offence.
“I must rely on the bona fide of the senior counsel who is presenting the state’s case and what he has in possession at this point is nothing more than circumstantial evidence but that does not prevent the matter falling under schedule six and I will approach it from that vein.”
In making the ruling, Nair first read out his summary of Pistorius's version of events.
Pistorius is charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who he shot at his Pretoria East home on Valentine’s Day.
The 'Blade Runner' claims he mistook her for a burglar and did not plan to kill her.
“He submits that the interests of justice and fairness dictate release on bail. Mr Pistorius questions the fact that he is charged with murder, let alone pre-meditated murder, and states that he had no intention to kill his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp,” Nair said.
The magistrate said Pistorius claimed he believed there was someone else in the house.
“At this point, he put on his prosthetic legs and tried to kick the door open. He thinks he switched on the light at this stage. He then retrieved a cricket bat from his room and broke off some panels, found a key and unlocked the door. The deceased was slumped over but alive.”
Nair said Pistorius then immediately called for help.
“With hindsight, he believed she might have gone to the bathroom when he went to the balcony.”
The magistrate then turned to the state's case and the details revealed by former lead investigating officer Hilton Botha.
“The toilet door had two panels. The top panel was broken. One part was found outside the toilet and one inside. Shots appeared to have been fired through the door and a key was on the outside of the door.
“There were four cartridges found. A cricket bat was found by the bathroom and it was sent for further tests to be conducted whether it was used to gain entry to the toilet.”
The magistrate also had some harsh words for Botha, who Eyewitness News revealed is facing seven attempted murder charges, during the ruling, saying he made several errors and concessions.
“I feel he could have done more to establish if this applicant had other incidents or a tendency or important cases when violence was involved.”
But Nair said this does not mean the state's case is weak.