Pistorius bail hearing under way

2013-02-22 15:07
Oscar Pistorius. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

Oscar Pistorius. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

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Pretoria - The Pretoria Magistrate's Court resumed shortly after 14:30 on Friday for a ruling on whether paralaympian Oscar Pistorius would be granted bail.

Pistorius has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on 14 February. In an affidavit he denied it.

Media coverage

Magistrate Desmond Nair started his ruling by explaining his decision on limiting media coverage of proceedings.

He cited previous legal precedent and said it was time for the court to embrace the principal of open justice.

But, electronic media created difficulties for the principle of open justice.

He said electronic media could "distort proceeding" through intense impact on the viewer, compared with print media, and editing, which could convey an inaccurate reflection of what happened.

This was "particularly dangerous" given that audio recordings did not disclose the fact of editing.

He also noted photographers and cameramen "zooming in, zooming in on the accused, flashing at will, and I have on my own witnessed this happening".

He said: "The applicant sometimes comes out of the police cells, stands in the dock, and perhaps unintentionally a large contingent of photographers and journalists flash at him and it does raise at him that the accused is perhaps some kind of species that the world has not seen before," said Nair.

Nair also said he had raised concerns about Pistorius being kept at police cells instead of prison during his bail application.

He had allowed Pistorius to be held at the police cells to avoid delays in his consultations with his counsel, said Nair.

"I do however wish to stress that I am not creating any precedent," he said.

Evidence

Pistorius sat with his jaw clenched as Nair then summed up the evidence presented to him during the bail application.

Looking as though he was fighting back tears, Pistorius also frowned as Nair ran through events.

"He himself phoned Netcare," said Nair.

"He is mortified at the loss of Miss Steenkamp as well as the pain and suffering of her family," he said.

Nair said Pistorius stood by this version of events and believed a trial would show he did not mean to murder Steenkamp.

Pistorius had undertaken not to interfere with further investigations.

Nair stopped as Pistorius cried, while his siblings also looked upset.

"Are you okay there?" asked Nair, pausing briefly, then continuing.

Nair then started reading out Pistorius's affidavit.

- Live coverage.

- News24's Pistorius Special Report.

- SAPA
Read more on:    desmond nair  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius
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