Oscar seeks lighter bail conditions

2013-03-09 00:00

OSCAR Pistorius has informed the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court that he intends to apply to the high court for a relaxation of his bail conditions.

Pistorius, who is charged with the murder of Reeva Steenkamp, was released on R1 million bail on February 22.

His legal team yesterday informed the court of their plans, saying that although the court found that Pistorius is not a flight risk, several of the conditions were set as if he was indeed at risk of fleeing.

“The conditions that are appealed against are uncalled for and not supported by the facts,” said the notice.

“The conditions were imposed without the appellant or the state being given a chance to address the court on their suitability.”

His passports are the first “problematic” condition. He was obliged to hand in all travel documents, and may not apply for any travel documents until his trial is finalised.

Pistorius is also not permitted to be at any airport or border crossing.

His lawyers said: “There was no proof that the appellant is a flight risk. If the court wanted to regulate his travel, it should have instructed that he hand in his passports and travel documents and only be permitted to leave SA with the written approval of the investigating officer, on submisison of a return ticket and itinerary.”

The defence also took issue with the fact that Pistorius has to subject himself to the supervision of both a probation and a correctional officer, and said there were no grounds for this.

On the condition that says he must not be charged with any act of violence towards women, the notice says: “No facts before the court support such a condition.”

They said this implies that simply being charged, regardless of the outcome of a prosecution, would be enough to violate the bail conditions.

They are also unhappy with the condition that bans Pistorius from drinking any alcohol until the trial is finalised.

“Although the appellant has no desire to use a controlled substance or alcohol, this condition is not grounded on facts,” the notice says.

“The mere use of any preparation with alcolhol in it would amount to violation of the bail conditions.”

There was also a lack of clarity about certain conditions mentioned in court, but not included in the written list. Among these, they said, were that Pistorius is not allowed to go to his house in the Silver Woods estate, is not allowed to speak to any residents and is obliged to report to the Brooklyn police station twice a week.

Although the state has the right to make investigatations at the house and among the neighbours, the defence feels that there should be a reasonable time limit after which Pistorius should have the “right of occupation, use or access to his own property”.

“The broad ban on speaking to residents is unjustified and will affect his right to a fair trial.

“The state must, within 30 days, supply a list of state witnesses [with whom he may not have contact].”

The lawyers said they also could not understand why he has to report to the police if he is not a flight risk.

Magistrate Desmond Nair, who handled the bail application, must react to the notice before the appeal can be heard in the high court.

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