Oscar could get bail - law expert

2014-12-08 15:55
(File: AFP)

(File: AFP)

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Johannesburg - After 49 days in prison, Oscar Pistorius could get bail if the State succeeds in its application for leave to appeal his sentence and conviction, a law expert said on Monday.

"If leave for appeal is granted, he can apply for bail and possibly be released as his legal team prepares its case," said Advocate Mannie Witz of The Bridge law firm.

Pistorius would probably be present in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for the proceedings on Tuesday, said Witz.

The State has filed papers calling for a heavier conviction and harsher sentence to be imposed on the Paralympic athlete.

Pistorius testified that he accidentally shot dead his model and law-graduate girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door at his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year.

He said he thought she was an intruder.

In court papers, the State described the five-year sentence imposed on him as "shockingly light and inappropriate".

Pistorius was jailed for five years for culpable homicide. For discharging a firearm at Tasha's restaurant in Sandton, Johannesburg, in January 2013, he was sentenced to three years in jail, suspended for five years.

Hours after Judge Thokozile Masipa sentenced Pistorius on 21 October, legal experts said she had been strategic.

Imposing a sentence longer than five years would have meant he was ineligible for house arrest, Wits School of Law Professor Stephen Tuson said at the time.

"The number 'five years' was not an ordinary number, it was carefully selected," he said.

According to section 276 of the Criminal Procedure Act, one-sixth of a jail sentence can be converted to house arrest if the sentence is not more than five years.

This means Pistorius could spend only 10 months in prison.

International interest

Pistorius's trial attracted international interest, and he has also made the news during his six-week prison stay, for among other things, the birthday he spent behind bars.

The Sunday Times reportedly witnessed several rules being flouted on his 28th birthday on 22 November.

It reported that his brother Carl and sister Aimee were allowed to bring the former Blade Runner a string of balloons, a gift bag and a cake purchased outside the prison.

The siblings visited Pistorius for almost two hours, despite departmental guidelines stipulating that visits were not allowed to exceed an hour.

Prison officials reportedly let the siblings' cars into the prison grounds without searching them and allowed them to use another exit to avoid the newspaper's photographer.

The department of correctional services denied the report.

In another report, Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir was quoted as saying he and the track athlete trained together.

In a letter to the media, Krejcir said he and Pistorius had shared a bicycle and treadmill at the Kgosi Mampuru Prison in Pretoria, where they are incarcerated.

In November, the MailOnline reported that Pistorius may not be released early from jail because the correctional services department is unable to fit a tracking device to his removable prosthetic legs.

The device is usually fitted to the ankle.

The department dismissed the claims.

"The department rejects any notion that attempts to pre-empt any decision that will be taken with respect to the offender concerned, and that will have an impact on his rehabilitation," correctional services spokesperson Manelisi Wolela reportedly said at the time.

The department has maintained that Pistorius is not receiving special treatment.

Read more on:    oscar pistorius  |  pretoria  |  pistorius trial  |  crime

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