Friday 9 December 2016

Pistorius is granted bail with relaxed terms for his house arrest - but he must wear electronic tag

Aislinn Laing in Pretoria

Published 09/12/2015 | 02:30

Oscar Pistorius reacts after he was granted bail as he leaves the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa after his bail hearing December 8, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Oscar Pistorius reacts after he was granted bail as he leaves the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa after his bail hearing December 8, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Oscar Pistorius with Reeva Steenkamp in 2012

Oscar Pistorius, the former Paralympic athlete convicted last week of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has been granted bail on the provision he surrenders his passport and wears an electronic tag.

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The athlete's legal team confirmed it will lodge an appeal with South Africa's highest tribunal, the Constitutional Court, after the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled last week that his manslaughter conviction be upgraded.

Pistorius (28) is at present under house arrest at his uncle's palatial home in Pretoria after he was released on parole just one year into his five-year sentence for shooting the model and law graduate through a locked toilet door on St Valentine's Day 2013.

Yesterday, he returned to court to apply for bail pending a decision by the Constitutional Court. His sentence for the upgraded murder conviction could result in him returning to prison for up to 15 years, but will be delayed until the appeal outcome.

In an affidavit submitted to the court, Pistorius pointed to his good behaviour while previously on bail.

He said that he had no income and had lost "all my assets" but added that he was actively seeking employment and studying for a business and law degree by correspondence with the London School of Economics, something he needed access to internet for.

He insisted he did not constitute a flight risk, nor any danger to anyone. "The nature and gravity of any punishment which can be imposed on me, play no part in my actions or decisions, as I believe that I will be successful in an appeal to the Constitutional Court," he wrote.

"I know that if I attempt to flee, which I will not, that, ultimately, I will be arrested and extradited to the Republic of South Africa. I work in South Africa. I am well known and it would be senseless to even consider to become a fugitive of justice."

Gerrie Nel, the prosecutor, had agreed to bail for the athlete but had asked for him to be banned from leaving his uncle's home in case he sought to flee to Mozambique, where his family has business interests, or Italy, where he used to be based for athletics training.

He highlighted the chance of Pistorius's circumstances as a convict, saying: "Unlike the application for bail where the accused was awaiting trial, we now have a convicted murderer applying for bail. This is completely different, he is facing a minimum sentence of 15 years."

Mr Nel called for the athlete's previous right to leave his uncle's house between 7am and noon be stripped.

But Judge Aubrey Ledwaba said it would "not be in the interests of justice" for the athlete to be banned from leaving his house at all.

The judge also extended his right to leave in the mornings, allowing him to leave in the afternoons with the permission of the police.

He instructed Pistorius to post R10,000 bail before Friday, and asked all parties to return to court for an update on the Constitutional Court process by April 18 next year.

The defence team is expected to appeal to the Constitutional Court on the grounds that the appeal court considered matters of fact rather than law, which are outside its remit. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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