Oscar Pistorius granted bail; matter postponed until June 4
Zeenews Sports Bureau
Pretoria: As the intriguing case of Oscar Pistorius moved into its fourth day, magistrate Desmond Nair granted him bail.
Meanwhile, you can also READ: Did you buy sobbing Pistorius' 'mistook girlfriend for burglar' story?»
You can read the Live Updates below.
Nair further adds that upon payment of the 100,000 rand, Pistorius must be released with the certain conditions, one of which says that he wouldn’t refrain himself from using any prohibited substance or even alchohol. The matter is now postponed till June 4.
# Nair returns says the accused's application is granted. He then asks Pistorius to stand. Nair then says that the bail is fixed at 1m rand: a cash amount of 100,000 rand to be deposited where the accused will be detained, plus a further 900,000 rand as a guarantee and surety. Pistorius would report to police station from Monday to Friday.
# Oscar’s family members are relieved. Barry Roux has reportedly informed the journalists that Pistorius wouldn’t return to his house as he doesn’t want to go there.
# And finally OSCAR PISTORIUS IS GRANTED BAIL
#Nair says that the defence has presented a detailed account of whatever happened on February 14 with reasonable evidences while none of the factors could be established to deny him bail.
# Nair isn’t happy that the state didn’t explain to him kind of public outrage that would be witnessed if Oscar isn’t left on bail.
# Nair further says he is concerned about the previous incidents where Pistorius’ had shown signs of aggression. Nair concedes he doesn’t find Pistorius a flight risk.
# Nair then adds the point where Oscar said he wouldn’t flee from South Africa and is ready to surrender his passports if required. He also mentions about Pistoris’ wealth and the properties.
# Nair says the answer to these questions is possible only when the accused comes up with evidences. So Nair says that even the state has been unable to come up with solid evidences, which could prove to be exceptional circumstances.
# Returning back to Pistorius, Nair says he doesn’t agree with the defence’s version of what made Oscar change his side of the bed on that particular night. Nair asks why Oscar didn’t bother to see if Reeva was safe on the bed or wherever she was. Why didn’t he ask who was in the toilet, or for that matter, why didn’t Reeva respond back from the bathroom. Even when Oscar felt vulnerable, why did he involve himself into the danger when he presumed the burglar was in the toilet? He went to the toilet where the intruder could have been waiting for him.
# Nayar shows he is clearly unhappy the way Hilton Botha came with claims he didn’t have proof for. Nayar mentions all those points where Botha fumbled and was trembling before Roux’s counter-attack.
# Nayar adds that in case if defence lawyer Barry Roux managed to show the defence’s case as weak, that would be considered as an exceptional circumstance and would mean that Pistorius would be granted bail.
# Nayar is back and he now mentions valid reasons on the basis of which Pistorius could be denied bail. Nair says he would keep into account the crime as well as previous incidents where Pistorius threatened a few people.
# The proceedings have been adjourned for five minutes.
# Nair adds that he isn’t convinced at this point that it was a premeditated murder as the prosecution hasn’t come up with anything that can be considered as reasons beyond reasonable doubt. Nair reiterates the fact that he isn’t there to decide guilt – that's for the trial judge, he says.
# Nair then comes to the prosecution’s argument where Nel debated that it was a "schedule six" offence – premeditated murder keeping in mind several circumstances including the number of shots fired, the wounds of Reeva’s right side of the body and the statements from the witnesses.
# Nair now mentions the meaning of bail and its history in South Africa. He says the concept of bail originated in the 7th century England.
# The magistrate then runs through Botha’s statement. He however doesn’t mention the charges against Botha himself.
# Nair then reads out the statements of Pistorius's friends who mentioned the kind of love both of them had for each other. Pistoris is trembling and shaking as Nair runs through this part.
# Nair then turns to Pistorius’ statement. Narrates the entire episode mentioned in it and Pistorius begins to sob, the moment the magistrate says, “She died in his arms.”
# Nair however clarifies, "I do, however, wish to stress that I am not creating any precedent in this regard." And that it shouldn't apply to other defendants.
# Nair further adds that an applicant is usually kept inside a prison and not a police station but when Roux asked him to do as he needed to interact with him frequently, he found no issues with that. The reason being in case if Pistorius was kept in a prison, that would have delayed the bail hearing proceeding which Nair wanted to avoid.
# Nair explains that Barry Roux had certain objections to television proceedings.
# The latest update says that the cameras have been turned off. That means now the arguments will just have a radio recording.
# Meanwhile Reeva’s relatives have told the media that they are there in her support and won’t comment over Pistorius’ bail plea.
# The bail verdict will be announced at 2.30pm local time (6pm IST).
# Pointed, crisp argument by Roux as he ends his arguments swiftly. Magistrate Nair thanks both sides for their arguments and announces that he's "now in the unenviable position" of having to decide on the bail plea for Pistorius.
# And now the defence has finished their argument requesting bail for Pistorius.
# Coming to the pressing issue of the defendant being at flight-risk, Roux makes a few important points:
"Those legs need maintenance and adjustment on a monthly basis." He also needs constant medical attention for his "stumps".
"Every time he goes through airport security it causes a commotion. It is impossible for this man to disappear."
He finally concludes that "All the factors are present to show that he's not a flight risk."
# Roux reaffirms that it's a far cry from a schedule six offence (premeditated murder). Pistorius, meanwhile, looks exahusted as he tries to control his overwhelming emotions.
# Roux brings back Botha's testimony which began swinging the bail hearing in the defence's favour. He says that the ex-chief investigator's admission that he had no evidence to contradict Pistorius' version of events is another salient point here.
# Roux keeps picking at little points in the prosecution's arguments. He says "Nel also asked how Reeva must have felt facing Pistorius "firing blindly". Yes, firing blindly but not deliberately."
# Roux is attacking the 'premeditated murder' charge. He claims that if he were the prosecutor, he'd gun for 'culpable homicide'. But the charge here is that of 'premeditated murder', so it's vastly different. And since the State's case is that of the latter, the court must hear the case on that charge.
# The astute Roux reveals that the most important part of his argument will be that the prosecution misinterprets the assigning of intent. If you intend to kill a burglar but kill someone else, that doesn't mean you intended to kill that someone else. That, in a nutshell, is what Roux means by 'assigning of intent'.
# The defence launches in now. Roux is up for his final arguments.
# A bit of a brouhaha in court as the newly appointed investigating officer on the Pistorius case, Lieutenant General Vineshkumar Moonoo, is apparently in court now, talking to the prosecutors. Meanwhile, Barry Roux, the defence lawyer, has told Sky News' Alex Crawford that he expects a decision on Pistorius' bail to be made today.
# While Barry Roux readies his voice for the defence's final arguments, here's something the deceased Reeva Steenkamp had said in a not-so-old interview where she opened up about the issues in her relationship with Oscar Pistorius:
# That's all from the Prosecution. Strong closing arguments from the State that revolve heavily on 'national interests' among other things. Court is adjourned for 10 minutes and the defence will respond after that.
# Nel rounds off his arguments against bail, saying that "courts can't treat people with disabilities differently. They can't treat famous people differently."
Nair, before that, asks whether a famous person like him may not be recognised should he flee the country. Nel gives Julian Assange's example and even claims that Pistorius could consider changing his face through surgery.
# Nair interjects again, asking what kind of life Pistorius would lead if he fled. Nel replies: "A life not in prison. Freedom."
# Nel reaffirms that while Pistorius' version of events are "improbable", the State's version is based on "objective facts".
# Fascinating arguments, but Nel's getting repetitive now. New point he adds is that there is no concensus that Reeva's bladder was indeed empty. Nel winding up now. He says that the State believes Pistorius should, therefore, be denied bail.
# Nel gnaws away at the inconsistencies, showing the lack of logic with regards Pistorius' apparently paranoid nature and the fact that he slept with windows and balcony doors open. "He has to explain that. He's afraid of crime and yet his front door was unlocked – why?"
# Nel reaffirms the point of 'public interest', saying that this case is under heavy scrutiny and lots of important people are paying a lot of attention to it. There could be public outrage if he's allowed to walk free. He also brings to Nair's notice that a lot of important people have fled when on bail, adding that South Africa don't have extradition agreements with too many countries.
# The State believes Pistorius has been protected too much for far too long and must not be shielded further now that someone is dead, referring to a previous case where charges against him were dropped after he'd accidentally discharged his firearm in a restaurant.
# Nel says the crime was horrific and the degree of violence is high. He shot the victim 4 times, he adds for effect.
# Nel then goes on to give this a wider angle, that of a crime against women, and believes that it is in keeping with national beliefs and the national direction to deal with such crimes in the harshest way, trying to pigeonhole Oscar Pistorius' case.
# Prosecution reiterates that the defendant walked past Reeva's side of the bed thrice and still didn't notice her, claiming this sounds very improbable.
# Nel says that given the evidence at hand, we know that Pistorius was in possession of an unlicenced weapon – even if it was his father's. He adds that the fact that we have just one survivor from that night, makes it that much tougher for the State.
# Nel now questions why Pistorius didn't call for security at once at any point whatsoever. Adds that if there was another phone Pistorius had, the defence, keen to free Pistorius, should have brought that to the prosecution's and police's notice.
# Nair interjects, asking, that if it was 'premeditated murder' then wouldn't the defendant have made it look like a burglary gone wrong? Nel claims that perhaps it wasn't planned weeks in advance and he only came up with it once Reeva locked herself in the toilet. He maintains that in the prosecution's version, she escaped to the bathroom, locking herself in, to either escape the gun or an argument.
# Referring to Pistorius' tears and general demeanour, Nel says "remorse can mean that they feel sorry for what they did or they feel sorry for themselves", implying that Pistorius was more concerned with getting caught than for Reeva's death.
# Bringing up the witness that blew in his face, Nel says that Botha's admissions do not change the facts of the case. Why would the witnesses lie, he adds rhetorically.
# Nel now claims that the only way to ensure that there's no misinterpretation is to stand under oath and be cross-examined, but his failure to do so shows that either he doesn't take this seriously enough, or that he's leaving doors open for misinterpretation, which is his fault.
# Pistorius, jaw clenched, is struggling to contain himself. He's about to break down again. Meanwhile, Nel continues stating that it's always easy to give a version of a story, especially if there's only one person to tell it.
# Nel adds that to find Pistorius' version probable, "one must stretch".
# Placing the blame for not testifying on the defendant, Nel says the way he interpreted the affidavit was that Oscar wasn't saying he did not kill Steenkamp unlawfully. He just said he did nothing wrong. But since Oscar did shoot Steenkamp, saying that he did "nothing wrong" must be incorrect. That's why, concludes Nel, it increases his flight risk.
# Nel begins by claiming that the fact that Pistorius gave his affidavit in writing instead of verbally testifying made his statement open to misinterpretation, adding that he should've testified instead. Nair retorts that the defendant has every right to make a written affidavit. Nel still holds that he should've spoken directly.
# Nair walks in now and greets everyone. Nel should begin any moment now. Touching moment there as Roux goes over to Pistorius and reassures him: "You're going to be OK."
# Oscar Pistorius enters, looking calm, his head bowed, as a certain gravitas permeates the room. The defence is already there. As is the prosecution. And now, the defendant too. His family sounds hopeful he'll get bail. An expert was quoted saying that if Pistorius gets bail, it'll be about 11,000 GBP. Besides, this doesn't prove a man's innocence or guilt, that's for the trial later on. This only settles the issue of bail.
# The prosecution team is in already and Nel shouldn't take too long in putting forward his arguments against the athlete being granted bail.
# Oscar Pistorius' coach has reportedly claimed that should the Blade Runner get bail, he'll be back training "immediately".
# In a statement released yesterday, the South African police department affirmed that Botha has, indeed, been taken off the case. The police officer who will take over as lead investigator on the Pistorius case is Lieutenant General Vinesh Moonoo, South Africa police’s “top detective”, according to national commissioner Riah Phiyega.
Once the hearing process was closed, National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega said that they have decided to replace Hilton Botha as the investigating officer with a lieutenant general, the "most senior detective" in the South African police service. A shocking revelation was made before the proceedings started on Day 3, that said the investigating officer was himself facing a charge of attempted murder.
The mystery remains unsolved. Barry Roux who dismantled the claims presented by investigating officer Hilton Botha on Day 2 began the proceedings by asking the magistrate that Pistorius shouldn’t be charged with premeditated murder as the evidence doesn’t show that it was premeditated.
But the prosecution said that even on his own version of events, Pistorius intentionally killed the burglar as he fired four times, that too without a warning, which means he fired with the intent to kill someone. Nel debated over another point saying that two cell phones, one of Pistorius and the other of Reeva were found on the mat, next to the shower which means they were having an argument there in the bathroom.
The magistrate Desmond Nair on the other hand said that there was a possibility that Pistorius might try to influence the witnesses in case if he is left on bail. He also asked Roux whether he thought denying bail to the Paalympian start would lead to outrage in the community to which Roux replied that there was a possibility.
For a quick round-up on all that’s happened at the bail hearing so far, check out our updates from the first three days:
In case you’re a bit behind the ball and want to catch up on what exactly is going on, here’s our coverage of the Oscar Pistorius case so far:
Oscar Pistorius has been charged with ‘premeditated murder’ for shooting his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, in the early hours of February 14, 2013. The Paralympian, who became the first double amputee to participate in the Olympic Games in London 2012, is being held in a Brooklyn police station until a decision is reached on his bail.