Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympian who stands accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has won the right to travel after challenging his bail conditions. The athlete will now be allowed to leave South Africa to compete, as long as he provides travel details in advance. He will also be allowed to return to his home in Pretoria.
Defence lawyer Barry Roux argued that the bail conditions amounted to “house arrest”. “Why would this athlete go to a country without extradition and go and hide,” he said. “It”s not as if the applicant is traveling for holiday in Mauritius; it”s only to gain an income, there”s no other reason.”
Oscar was not in court for the hearing. Reports say he has not resumed training and currently has no plans to compete internationally.
The original bail conditions, including travel restrictions, were imposed by Magistrate Desmond Nair on 22 February. Oscar, 26, was ordered to hand over his two South African passports, avoid his home in Pretoria and all witnesses in the case, report to a police station twice a week and avoid drinking alcohol.
His lawyers argued that he should be allowed to travel if he is granted permission by the case investigation officer – and Judge Bert Bam agreed, describing the decision not to let Oscar travel as “wrong”.
Oscar denies murdering model Reeva, 29, at his home in Pretoria last month. He says he shot her when he mistook her for an intruder.
It”s a case that has captivated not only South Africa, but the rest of the world. Earlier this month, it was the subject of a BBC documentary, during which family friend Mike Azzie said that since the shooting Oscar was a “broken man”, adding his concerns that the world-class sprinter might take his own life.
Shortly afterwards, Oscar”s family denied claims that he is suicidal, insisting that he has a “purpose in life” – to clear his name. In a statement, the runner”s uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said, “Oscar is in deep mourning but despite the tragic circumstances he is certainly not suicidal, as has been rumored.
“Oscar, broken as he currently is, believes he has a purpose in life and is working towards that. Media reports to the contrary are untrue. Of course Oscar will never be the same, having to live with the knowledge that he caused the death of the woman he loved, but he is coping as best he can with the support of his loved ones.”
He added that his nephew has an “excellent support structure” in his family. “From the moment we were first informed about the dreadful event of the early morning of February 14, 2013, we have worked hard to come to terms with the sad news of Reeva Steenkamp”s death and Oscar”s role in it,” he said.
“As a family it drew us closer together, supporting and encouraging each other, praying for Oscar – whom we love and who remains our sone, brother and nephew. We have all been deeply affected by what transpired.”