BREAKING: Pistorius granted bail

South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last week, was granted bail this morning, after several days in court.

The magistrate explained that the state has met the threshold for arguing that Pistorius’s shooting of Steenkamp was premeditated and not, as Pistorius’s defence has argued, a response to what Pistorius believed to be a home intrusion. But, the he also stated that even though those accused of murder are usually imprisoned while awaiting trial, “exceptional circumstances” might merit granting bail.

After a short break in proceedings, the magistrate continued, saying there are three criteria for being granted bail: “he will not flee the jurisdiction; he will not try to intimidate witnesses; he is not himself a dangerous person.”

The magistrate said that he “had difficulty” with many aspects of Pistorius’s version of events, poking half a dozen holes in his self-defence story. “There are improbabilities that need to be explored… The defense has failed to show this court that there is a weakness in the strength of the state case.” However, he continued, the state has not shown that its case is so strong that it could impel Pistorius to flee rather than face trial. He concluded that it has not been proven that Pistorius is a flight risk.

On the points of intimidating witnesses or being a dangerous person, however, the magistrate enumerated the ways in which the state had failed to prove that Pistorius has a history and likelihood of violent behaviour. “I appreciate that a person is dead, but I do not necessarily think that is enough” to prove that he is violent, he said.

Finally, he said, there wasn’t proper evidence before him relating to the risk of public disorder if Pistorius is granted bail. And so, he has been granted bail.

The BBC has more.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Posted February 22, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Wonder of average “Joe” gets same treatment for being accused of killing girlfriend? Basic injustice when the famous are involved seems to be a universal. Sucks!

    • Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Maybe, maybe not. It’s good to remember that there is always a media circus surrounding celebrity crimes and since media likes to tell a clear story, some outlets are going to paint him as clearly the murderer and some will paint him as just an unfortunate victim. Feministing pointed out that the defense’s case is weak, which is true, but they forgot to point out that the prosecution’s evidence has been fairly jumbled as well. Given the weird circumstances surrounding this murder, bail may have been the right thing to do in this case, but we won’t get enough information to decide that for ourselves from any popular news source.

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