Oscar Pistorius granted bail following murder conviction

December 9, 2015 11:28 am

will remain under house arrest pending his sentencing
for his murder conviction, after a South African judge granted bail to
the Olympic athlete.
The country’s Supreme Court of Appeal
convicted Pistorius on Thursday of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
in 2013, overturning a lower court’s conviction of the lesser crime of
manslaughter. The appeals court then said the double-amputee Olympian
should be sentenced by the lower court.
Judge Aubrey Ledwaba of
that court, the North Gauteng High Court, granted Pistorius bail of $692
(NZ$1033) and extended his house arrest until his sentencing hearing,
which he set for April 18. The judge said Pistorius will be placed under
electronic monitoring and may only leave his uncle’s home between 7
a.m. and 12 p.m.
Pistorius may not travel further than a 12-mile
(20-kilometer) radius outside of his uncle’s mansion in a Pretoria
suburb, the judge ruled. He must also hand over his passport to the
police.

Earlier, the state argued that Pistorius may try to flee, and asked for strict bail conditions.
“We have a convicted murderer applying for bail so the conditions should be stricter,” said prosecutor Gerrie Nel.
Pistorius’ bail is a fraction of the $113,000 (NZ$170,400) bail he paid when he first appeared in court for the 2013 shooting.
In
the meantime, Pistorius’ legal team plan to appeal his murder
conviction in South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court,
chief defense lawyer Barry Roux said.
The former track star’s
lawyer did not say on what basis he would be appealing the murder
conviction at the Constitutional Court, South Africa’s highest court.
Nel, the prosecutor, told the court that he doubted that this next appeal would be successful.
“We’re
not convinced that the accused has made out a good case and that his
application to the Constitutional Court will be successful, but we
acknowledge that he has the right to bring such an application,” said
Nel.
Pistorius shot Steenkamp through the door of a toilet
cubicle in his home early on Valentine’s Day 2013. Prosecutors said he
killed her after an argument; Pistorius said he killed her by mistake,
thinking there was an intruder in the house.
The appeals court
said that regardless of who was behind the door, Pistorius should have
known someone could be killed if he fired multiple times. Under South
African law, a person can be convicted of murder if he or she foresaw
the possibility of someone dying through their actions and went ahead
anyway.
Pistorius was placed under house arrest in October after
serving one year of a 5-year prison sentence for the earlier
manslaughter conviction.
During Tuesday’s court appearance, the
first time he’s appeared in court in over a year, Pistorius was dressed
in a dark suit. His demeanor was calm and he spoke softly with his
lawyer and others before proceedings began. He even grinned.
A
champion athlete, before the killing of Steenkamp in the early hours of
Valentine’s Day 2013 Pistorius had been televised at sporting events and
seen in magazines in advertisements. In contrast, he has rarely been
seen in public while under house arrest. Last weekend, a South African
newspaper published a photograph of Pistorius sitting in a car. On Nov.
14, a cellphone video emerged of Pistorius reporting to a Pretoria
police station as part of his community service. On his 29th birthday
last month, a relative tweeted a photograph of a smiling Pistorius
surrounded by children.
Pistorius went to the North Gauteng High
Court from his uncle’s mansion in Pretoria, where Pistorius had been
serving his house arrest for the manslaughter conviction. He is to
continue to remain there under house arrest until sentencing.
The
minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years, though a judge
can reduce that sentence for what the law describes as exceptional
circumstances.

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