Pistorius Allowed to Leave SAfrica With Conditions

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Van Zyl saw no reason why Pistorius shouldn’t be allowed to run again by athletics authorities while accused of murder and said that he had been contacted by race promoters who wanted to see Pistorius return to competition.

“If they (track bodies) don’t allow him to run and he walks out (of court) a free man, there might be a problem,” Van Zyl said.

The judge also ruled in favor of Pistorius on three other bail restrictions.

He no longer has to be regularly supervised by a probation official and a ruling that he wasn’t allowed to consume alcohol and could be tested at any time for alcohol and “prohibited substances” was lifted. Bam also slammed one of the bail conditions imposed by another court, saying a condition that Pistorius would be in breach of his bail if he was merely accused of another crime against women was “fraud.” It went against Pistorius’ constitutional right to be innocent until proven guilty, Bam said.

The high court judge’s rapid ruling came three hours after the hearing began.

Two other restrictions — that Pistorius 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 prosecution wouldn’t comment on how the ruling affected its case.

“Our focus is on the upcoming trial and we need to focus on that with all our minds,” National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Medupe Simasiku said. “The investigation is going well and we believe that soon it will be completed.”

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 also argued against a ruling that prevented him from speaking to residents near his home, saying he should be allowed to consult with them to prepare his defense.

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.

Pistorius was not required to attend his appeal hearing and none of his family members were present at the court in the heart of South Africa’s capital city.

At Pistorius’ next court appearance in early June, the prosecution would aim to serve indictments, chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court. Nel said there is a possibility that Pistorius’ trial will begin by the end of the year.

(Photo: AP)

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