Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail

Athlete "not a flight risk"

Joe Spring

After a two-hour explanation of his decision, South African magistrate Desmond Nair granted South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius bail, saying he was not a flight risk and didn’t show a propensity to commit violence. The amount was set at one million rand, or roughly $113,000 USD.

Nair’s decision came at the end of a four-day bail hearing that included the prosecution removing their main investigator after it was revealed that he was under investigation for murder in another case. The magistrate acknowledged that the detective, warrant officer Hilton Botha, had made several mistakes in gathering evidence, but that the prosecution’s case itself had not been tarnished as a result.

During the magistrate’s explanation of his decision, several people on Twitter expressed frustration at the amount of time he was taking before announcing bail, but his thorough analysis offered a detailed look into the reasoning for his final decision. Nair said that he had difficulties with several of the elements presented by Pistorius’ defense, but that the prosecution did not establish Pistorius as a flight risk or prone to violence.

As conditions of his bail, Pistorius must turn in his passport and guns. He must not return to his home, or take any alcohol or drugs. He also must not travel out of the country or talk to any potential witnesses.

Pistorius’ next appearance in court is scheduled for June 4. No date is set for the start of the trial.

For more on the bail hearing and decision, read “Magistrate Grants Bail” in The New York Times. For a detailed account of detective Hilton Botha’s testimony being called into question, read Deadspins “A Strong Day for Oscar Pistorius’s Defense….” For Pistorius’ version of what happened the night of the murder, check out the “Graphic: In His Own Words…” from the National Post.