The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

March 28, 2013

Pistorius allowed to leave South Africa with conditions

(Continued)

Pistorius says he killed Steenkamp accidentally when he fired shots through a door in his bathroom in the pre-dawn hours, fearing there was an intruder in his house. Prosecutors say he shot the model and reality TV star intentionally after they argued, and they have charged him with premeditated murder.

The judge also ruled in favor of Pistorius on three other conditions. He no longer has to be regularly supervised by a probation official and a ban against him drinking alcohol was lifted. Bam also slammed one of the bail conditions imposed by another judge, saying that a condition that he would be in breach of his bail if he was accused of another crime against women was "fraud." It went against Pistorius' constitutional right to be innocent until proven guilty, and being accused of a crime should not count against him, Bam said in a ruling that came three hours after the hearing began.

Another two restrictions that he was not allowed to return to his house, where he shot Steenkamp dead on Feb. 14, and had to report regularly to a police station should be disregarded, the judge said.

It meant Pistorius' legal team succeeded in all its appeals. Pistorius' lawyers smiled after the judge ruled in their favor.

The athlete's lawyers had earlier argued that he was being treated as a flight risk by his bail restrictions even though a magistrate ruled last month that he was not when he released Pistorius on 1 million rand ($108,000) bail.

Defense lawyer Roux said Pistorius' original bail restrictions amounted to "house arrest."

Prosecutors had opposed the relaxing of Pistorius' bail restrictions and also said the appeal should have gone to the original magistrate's court that set bail for Pistorius, and not Pretoria's high court. Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair imposed the bail conditions on Feb. 22. Pistorius had been held in a police station until then. He hasn't been seen in public since and is believed to have been staying at an uncle's house.

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