Pistorious back in court

By Drum Digital
22 February 2013

Oscar Pistorius' lawyer and family arrived at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Friday to attend his bail hearing.

Also arriving was his brother Carl, who has sat near him in court as the State and his defence argued over whether he would be a flight risk and whether there were exceptional circumstances to justify his release.

A man and a woman arrived outside court carrying a poster in support of the double amputee who went on to become an Olympic athlete running on carbon fibre blades.

"Oscar we trust you and your love for Reeva" read one, with newspaper reports covering the story stuck under it.

Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 in a shooting at his home.

Pistorius has denied deliberately shooting her and has said, in an affidavit, he thought there was a burglar when he fired shots at the bathroom door, killing her.

A new investigating officer, Lt-Gen Vineshkumar Moonoo, was appointed to the case on Thursday after it emerged that the previous one, Warrant Officer Hilton Botha, himself faces attempted murder charges.

Magistrate Desmond Nair will have to decide whether he was provided with evidence showing "exceptional circumstances" that it is in the interests of justice to grant Pistorius bail, after saying the application would be heard in terms of schedule six of the Criminal Procedure Act.

Schedule six denotes an "extremely serious" offence.

Pistorius' advocate Barry Roux has asked that Nair drop this to schedule five, a "serious" offence, which could increase Pistorius' chance of being granted bail.

He would also have to decide whether Pistorius, an international athlete, could be a flight risk.

On Thursday Nair asked questions relating to a firearm discharged accidentally in public and reports on altercations, which relate to public conduct.

The application was expected to continue at 10am.

-by Sapa

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