Oscar Pistorius has been granted bail by Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair, according to The Associated Press.
Concluding a bail hearing that stretched for a week at Pretoria Magistrate's Court, Nair made his decision on Friday after hearing arguments from defense lawyer Barry Roux and prosecutor Gerrie Nel. Despite making it clear that he finds certain aspects of the South African Paralympian's account of the fatal shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, improbable, Nair determined that Pistorius does not represent a flight risk. That Pistorius offered his own detailed version of events in an affidavit weighed in his favor, according to Nair.
"That reaching out in the affidavit, the way that he did, placing it before the court," Nair said during a lengthy explanation of his decision and South African legal history. "I come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail."
Bail has been set at 1 million rand (or $113,000) and the case is postponed until June 4, according to the BBC. As conditions of bail being granted, Pistorius must hand over his passports and all firearms to authorities.
The 26-year-old Olympic pioneer has been charged with one count of premeditated murder and had remained in police custody since the fatal shooting of Steenkamp, at his home on Feb. 14. The double-amputee track star who made history by competing at the London Olympics claimed in an affidavit that he shot Steenkamp accidentally, mistaking her for an intruder. He must also abstain from alcohol and report twice a week to a police station, according to Reuters.
Nel strongly opposed bail, citing both the violent nature of the alleged crime as well as his belief that Pistorius represented a flight risk. Steenkamp was shot four times and a 9 mm pistol was recovered at Pistorius' home after the Valentine's Day shooting, according to police. The world famous South African athlete had been held in a single cell at the Brooklyn holding facility, according to The Guardian.
"You cannot put yourself in the deceased's position. It must have been terrifying. It was not one shot. It was four shots," Nel said on Friday, via Reuters.
While maintaining that Pistorius had no intention of shooting Steenkamp, Roux contended that it would be very difficult for Pistorius to disappear due to both his fame and his prosthetic legs.
"Let me tell you how difficult it is for this man to disappear from this world," Roux said, via The Associated Press.
The bail hearing took an unexpected turn when it was revealed that investigating detective Hilton Botha, who admitting police mistakes during his confusing testimony, was facing attempted murder charges from an unrelated matter. He was subsequently dropped from the case and replaced by police Lt. Gen. Vinesh Moonoo.
Nair addressed Botha's contribution to the bail hearing during his remarks on Friday, differentiating between the merits of the testimony of the detective and the actual merits of the state's case.
"It can never be said that warrant officer Hilton Botha is the state case," Nair said, via David Smith of The Guardina. "The state case will be put together by experts."
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PRETORIA, South Africa -- Oscar Pistorius was granted bail Friday, paving the way for him to be freed from custody pending his trial in the Valentine's Day shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius' family members and supporters shouted "Yes!" when Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair made his decision after a near two-hour explanation of his ruling.
Nair set the bail at 1 million rand ($113,000), with $11,300 in cash and proof that the rest is available. The magistrate said Pistorius must hand over his passports and also turn in any other guns that he owns. Pistorius also cannot leave the district of Pretoria without the permission of his probation officer, Nair said.
The double-amputee Olympian's next court appearance was set for June 4.
The magistrate also ruled that he could not return to his home, where the killing of Steenkamp took place.
Nair made the ruling after four days of arguments from prosecution and defense in Pistorius' bail hearing.
Nair said Pistorius' affidavit, in which he gave his version of the events of the shooting on morning of Feb. 14 in a sworn statement, had helped his application for bail in Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
"That reaching out in the affidavit, the way that he did, placing it before the court," Nair said. "I come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail."
Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp in the predawn hours of Feb. 14. The athlete says he shot his girlfriend accidentally believing she was an intruder in his house. Prosecutors say he intended to kill Steenkamp and charged him with premeditated murder, saying the shooting followed a loud argument between the two.
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