Oscar Pistorius's bail extended

2014-09-12 13:02
Oscar Pistorius is seen at the North Gauteng High Court, where he was found guilty of culpable homicide. (Alon Skuy, Times Media Group, Pool)

Oscar Pistorius is seen at the North Gauteng High Court, where he was found guilty of culpable homicide. (Alon Skuy, Times Media Group, Pool)

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Watch Judge hand down Oscar's final verdict

2014-09-12 12:09

Judge Thokozile Masipa handed down her judgment in the North Gauteng High Court on Friday. Watch. WATCH

Pretoria - The North Gauteng High Court has extended Oscar Pistorius's bail, after he was found not guilty of murder but guilty of culpable homicide.

"I have used my discretion in favour of the accused. I grant the application to extend the bail of the accused," Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled at 13:00.

At his bail hearing last year, Pistorius was granted bail of R1m.

Arguments

Explaining her decision, Masipa referred to the State's three arguments for the withdrawal of bail: that he had been convicted of a serious offence; that he had disposed of three of his houses and was thus a flight risk; and his "self-harming" behaviour.

She said the onus was on the State to prove it was not in the interests of justice to release Pistorius on bail.

"I am not so persuaded," she said.

Masipa found the defence's explanation that Pistorius had sold his homes to pay for his defence satisfactory.

"I did not hear the State say it was taken by surprise that the properties of the accused were sold."

She agreed with the defence that the State could at any point in the future apply to have bail withdrawn should it feel it was necessary.

The matter was postponed to 13 October for sentencing proceedings.

Just after her ruling on bail, Masipa warned the defence to tell whoever would be staying with Pistorius that, "there should be no further complications".

Pistorius's counsel Barry Roux turned around to look at his uncle Arnold Pistorius and the men nodded.

Opposition to bail

Earlier, the State opposed the extension of Pistorius's bail.

"Culpable homicide is a schedule seven offence," prosecutor Gerrie Nel said.

"[this is a] serious case. Negligently and grossly negligent. Before today the accused thought he could be acquitted." Nel said prison was still a possibility for Pistorius and he should not be granted bail.

He said the athlete sold three properties and did not have a house and was living with his family.

Nel said there was nothing keeping him in South Africa.

"It is my respectful argument that it is not in the interest of justice to permit an accused who has been convicted in the high court on a matter of negligently killing the deceased... bail," said Nel.

"[He] should not be released on bail."

Nightclub incident

Also, while on bail, Pistorius was involved in an "incident" at a nightclub in the early morning hours in July which caused him to be asked to leave.

The family of the accused then admitted there was an incident and indicated to the media in a press release that his actions were "unwise" and underlied "some of his self-harming behaviour", said Nel.

Nel said this was serious after an expert said the athlete may be a suicide risk.

Barry Roux, SC, for Pistorius argued that the onus was on the State to prove that Pistorius should not get bail.

"He previously complied with his bail conditions - there really is no reason for you to apply your mind any different," said Roux.

Legal bills

Roux said Pistorius sold his property to pay for his legal bills, adding this showed the respect Pistorius had for legal processes.

"This was a long trial; it was an expensive trial," said Roux.

However, Nel said: "It's the accused version that he wanted to pay his legal fees. I've got no evidence to support this."

Roux said Pistorius had been living with his uncle Arnold for the past 18 months in Pretoria.

Pistorius was accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on Valentine's Day last year. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to emerge and attack him. She was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Judge Masipa said evidential material before the court showed that Pistorius acted negligently when he fired into the toilet door, knowing there was someone behind it.

As Pistorius was led down to the court cells, his sister Aimee and father Henke embraced.

- Sapa and News24

Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  thokozile masipa  |  pistorius trial

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