Despite a charge of premeditated murder, which means that a defendant would face the harshest requirements to justify why they should be granted bail, on Friday, Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair granted bail to "Blade Runner" and former Olympian Oscar Pistorius. Pistorius has been charged with premeditated murder in the Valentine's Day death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
According to South African Law, Pistorius defense team had to show that "exceptional circumstances" existed for him to be granted bail.
The authorities say Pistorius, 26, shot and killed Steenkamp, 29, in his bathroom where she was hiding after an argument. Steenkamp, a model and aspiring reality TV star, suffered gunshot wounds to her head, hip and arm. Pistorius has maintained since the beginning that he accidentally shot Steenkamp, thinking she was an intruder.
Nair took a long time to read his judgment. In doing so, he went through virtually every aspect of the case, in fine detail. He also elaborated on the statutes for withholding bail. In conclusion, he said that the prosecution neither proved that Pistorius is a flight risk, nor did they prove he has "a propensity for violence."
While the prosecution pointed to offshore accounts as showing the runner has the resources to flee, Pistorius' defense attorney, Barry Roux, said the double amputee isn't a flight risk because his prosthetic legs "need maintenance and adjustment on a monthly basis.
Oscar Pistorius was born with a condition known as fibular hemimelia (congenital absence of the fibula) in both legs. When he was 11 months old, his legs were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles. He uses carbon-fiber prosthetics that enable him to walk and run, and was nicknamed "Blade Runner" due to them. At the 2012 Summer Olympics on Aug. 4, 2012, Pistorius became the first amputee runner to compete at an Olympic Games.
Legal experts say the trial could be months away. When the case goes to trial, a judge will decide Pistorius' fate. In South Africa, there are no jury trials for criminal cases.
Earlier in the day, prior to the ruling, Pistorius' coach Ampie Louw implied it could be business as usual as early as Monday for the track athlete. He indicated his training would resume, though the "Blade Runner" will not compete, saying "I think that will be a very good thing to do, I think just to get his mind clear. The sooner he can start with a bit of work, the better."
Louw added that there was no way Pistorius would run. "He is not going to run nowhere so why not give the guy bail? He must stand trial, and let's do that and get the truth out of it."