Decision on athlete's bail application expected today

Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 00:00

Oscar Pistorius should find out today if he is to get bail after both the state prosecutor and his defence team yesterday wound up their arguments in relation to his application.

After a four-day hearing at Pretoria magistrate’s court that kept the world enthralled, magistrate Desmond Nair must decide this morning if the Paralympic athlete can stay out of custody until his trial takes place.

Mr Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp (29) at his home in Pretoria in the early hours of February 14th last.

While he has admitted to shooting her dead through the toilet door, he maintains it was an accident and that he thought she was an intruder who had gained entry to his house.

The gold medal sprinter has been charged with premeditated murder and police believe he would be a flight risk if he is released on bail.

Global fame

In summing up the defence’s argument, advocate Barry Roux said it was unlikely that Mr Pistorius would flee the country, because he was such a well-known athlete around the world.

Mr Pistorius made history last summer at the London Olympics when he became the first double amputee to compete in the able-bodied Games.

“It does not accord with common sense that a well-known person would run away,” he said.

In seeking bail, Mr Roux also argued that the state had failed to prove anything over the previous week as to why Mr Pistorius should remain in custody.

“There was nothing. There was just nothing,” Mr Roux said of the state’s case.

Not surprisingly, prosecutor Gerrie Nel saw things differently.

He argued that Mr Pistorius should be remanded in custody until his trial because his counsel had failed to prove the exceptional circumstances needed to grant him bail.

He claimed that no court would ever accept he acted in self-defence when he shot a woman in a 1.4m by 1.4m room through a closed door.

“His actions are indicative of a man who was willing and ready to kill,” Mr Nel said. “There were two people in the house. One survived to give his version.”