Oscar Pistorius has been granted bail by a court in South Africa after spending a week in custody charged with murdering his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.
Magistrate Desmond Nair’s decision drew cheers from the Pistorius’ family and supporters, while the athlete burst into tears.
The magistrate set bail at one million rand (£73,000) and postponed the case until June 4.
Pistorius will also be required to live at an undisclosed address, hand in his two South African passports and report twice a week to a police station in Pretoria.
The double amputee is also banned from drinking alcohol, must hand over his guns and stay away from the estate where he lived.
Prosecutors had warned that the star has the “money, means and motive” to flee South Africa if he was given bail, but his lawyers successfully argued the Blade Runner was too famous to flee justice.
In his two-hour statement to Pretoria Magistrates Court, the judge said he did not believe Pistorius to be a “flight risk” or “pose a danger to society”.
But the magistrate said Pistorius still has lots questions to answer.
“I have difficulty in appreciating the accused did not ascertain the whereabouts of his girlfriend when he got off the the bed,” Mr Nair said.
“I have difficulty with the accused not seeking to verify who was in the toilet when he could have asked.
“I have difficulty understanding why the deceased didn’t scream back from the toilet.”
Sky’s Alex Crawford said Pistorius burst into tears when the decision was read out.
“He had been crying quietly anyway, and it just seemed to prompt even more sobbing from him,” Crawford said.
“His family are hugely relieved, some of them are crying, they’re gathered together in a little huddle … hugging each other, some are sobbing, they are holding hands, and some at least appear to be praying.”
The star is charged with premeditated murder over the shooting death of Miss Steenkamp, 29, in the early hours of February 14.
Despite the bail decision, prosecution spokesman Medupe Simasiku said: “We’re still confident in our case.”
About an hour after the decision was read out, Pistorius was driven away from the court in a silver Land Rover.
Outside the court, a friend and former flatmate of Miss Steenkamp, Kim Myers, said it has been a very sad time and people must remember the trial has not started.
“The bail application is not a trial and we hope and trust that justice will prevail,” she said.
“We need to remember that someone still lost their life. Our hearts and thoughts and prayers just go out to the Steenkamp family.”
Nicholas Van Eden, a spokesman for the Steenkamp family, later said: “We’re not sure what to feel in the case. We just want to know the truth, and whatever happens it’s not going to bring Reeva back.
“We just want justice and the truth.”
The Olympian’s uncle Arnold Pistorius said: “Although we are obviously relieved that Oscar has been granted bail, this is still a very sad time for the family of Reeva and for us.
“We are grateful that the magistrate recognised the validity and strength of our application.
“As the family, we are convinced that Oscar’s version of what happened on that terrible night will prove to be true.”
- Related Stories:
- Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail: Live Reaction
- Pistorius Cop Facing Attempted Murder Charges
Article source: http://news.sky.com/story/1055642