Oscar Pistorius granted bail (UPDATES)



South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius appears at the Magistrate Court in Pretoria on February 22, 2013. Pistorius battled to secure bail as he appeared on charges of murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Feb.14, Valentine's Day. South African prosecutors will argue that Pistorius is guilty of premeditated murder in Steenkamp's death, a charge which could carry a life sentence. Pistorius denies the charge, saying that he shot 29-year-old Steenkamp repeatedly through a locked bathroom door in the dead of night by accident, having mistaken her for a burglar.


Alexander Joe


UPDATE: 2/22/13 10:07 AM ET

Details: terms of bail

Bail for Pistorius was set at 1 million rand (about $113,000), with 100,000 rand in cash to be deposited where Pistorius is detained and another 900,000 rand as guarantee and surety.

According to the terms of the bail, as described by Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair, Pistorius will surrender all his passports and not apply for any new ones. He will not enter any airports. He will surrender all his firearms and avoid talking to any prosecution witnesses.

Pistorius has a probation officer and correctional official assigned to him from the date of his release until the case ends. He will keep the official informed of all his movements. He will ask permission to travel outside Pretoria and must be reachable by phone day and night.

While the trial is ongoing, Pistorius must not be charged with violence against women and he must not use drugs or alcohol. He also cannot return to his home or contact residents at his estate.

The Guardian live blog compiled a list of Nair's primary reasons for granting Pistorius bail, which included:

• He did not think Pistorius was a flight risk.

• He did not think the prosecution had shown that Pistorius had a propensity for violence.

• He did not think the prosecution had shown there would be public outrage if he were released on bail.

• He did not think the prosecution’s case was so strong that Pistorius’s only reasonable reaction were he released would be to flee.

UPDATE: 2/22/13 9:50 AM ET

Proceedings adjourned

Pistorius is due back in court in Pretoria at 8:30 a.m. local time on June 4, 2013.

UPDATE: 2/22/13 9:45 AM ET

Terms of bail for Pistorius: breaking reports

UPDATE: 2/22/13 9:43 AM ET

Bail set at 1 million rand

A bail payment of one million rand, or about $113,000 by Friday, March 1 will release Pistorius from custody, Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair said. Nair is now detailing the terms of bail.

The terms include avoiding airports and being monitored by an assigned probation officer and corrections official.

UPDATE: 2/22/13 9:35 AM ET

It's not over

Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair has granted bail to Oscar Pistorius; now Nair has returned to discuss the terms of bail. Media were asked to remove cameras from the courtroom, but audio continues. Listen live below.

UPDATE: 2/22/13 9:30 AM ET

Reporters tweet from the courtroom after bail ruling

UPDATE: 2/22/13 9:23 AM ET


Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair has granted bail to Oscar Pistorius. "The accused has made a case to be released on bail," Nair said at approximately 4:23 p.m. South African time.

UPDATE: 2/22/13 9:00 AM ET

Nair insinuates that Pistorius case will remain "Schedule 6," with charges of premeditated murder

If you're listening along to the Pistorius proceedings today, you're hearing a lot about "Schedule 6."

What does this legal language mean?

The important distinction in the Pistorius case is the question of pursuing charges as a Schedule 5 or Schedule 6 offense.

According to an Open Society Foundation for South Africa document on bail decisions in three South African cases, Schedule 5 offenses are serious charges of rape or murder "which have not been aggravated by additional factors (such as premeditation in the case of murder)." Schedule 6 offenses include even more serious offenses such as gang rape or premeditated murder.

Someone accused of a Schedule 6 offense is less likely to win bail than someone who is accused of a Schedule 5 offense.

Schedule 6 offenses include premeditated murder, killing a cop, murder as result of a rape or robbery, gang rape, rape of a minor or disabled person, armed robbery, or someone who has previously been convicted of a Schedule 5 offense. Schedule 5 offenses include murder, treason, attempted murder, rape, drug-trafficking of substances worth more than R50,000 ($5,640) corruption, extortion, fraud, forgery or theft over the value of R500,000 ($56,385), smuggling firearms, or indecent assault on a minor.

UPDATE: 2/22/13 8:35 AM ET

Pistorius in tears; reporters chronicle proceedings minute-by-minute

[View the story "Pistorius emotional during detailed discussion of murder evidence" on Storify]

UPDATE: 2/22/13 7:40 AM ET

Pistorius bail hearing underway in Pretoria

South African prosecutors are fighting today to keep Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympian charged with the murder of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, in jail.

Pistorius has denied claims that he murdered Steenkamp. His lawyers have contended that he shot Steenkamp mistakenly because he believed she was an intruder.

The prosecution argued that Oscar Pistorius's version of what happened is "improbable," and that he poses a major flight risk if he's freed on bail.

Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair began addressing the court shortly after 7:30 a.m. EST.

"He must realize that long-term imprisonment is almost guaranteed. He might think he'll be acquitted," said Gerrie Nel, the lead prosecutor, to the judge in his closing arguments, the BBC reported.

"We all know that a lot of important people were granted bail and they stayed in the country. But lots of very important people have escaped."

However, the defense, as well as the judge, remained skeptical at this assertion.

Defense attorney Barry Roux argued that Pistorius, who walks on prosthetic legs, is unlikely to pass through an airport unnoticed, CNN reported. He also explained that Pistorius needs medical treatment for his stumps and regular maintenance for his prostheses.

BBC's Africa correspondent tweeted that it's unlikely that Pistorius's bail will be denied: 

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