Oscar Pistorius free to travel

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IOL pic mar28 oscar pistorius break in proceedings Reuters Murder accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius can travel again after the High Court in Pretoria set aside some of his bail conditions. File photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

Pretoria - Murder accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius can travel again after the High Court in Pretoria set aside some of his bail conditions on appeal on Thursday.

“He will be allowed to use his passport to travel outside of the country,” said Judge Bert Bam.

“I could find no reason why the appellant should be forbidden to leave the country to compete abroad,” he said.

The National Prosecuting Authority would not comment immediately on the judgment.

“Our focus is on the upcoming trial and we need to focus on that with all our minds,” spokesman Medupe Simasike said outside the court.

Pistorius was arrested on February 14 after his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead in his Pretoria home. He did not attend the appeal proceedings.

The conditions Bam set aside were:

* that he surrender his passport to the magistrate's office (3b);

* that he refrain from applying for a passport or travel documents until the case against him is concluded (3c);

* that he refrain from entering the international departure hall of any airport or the departure hall of any international destination (3d);

* that he submit himself to the supervision of a probation officer or correctional officer (3h);

* that he not be charged with an offence relating to violence against women while on bail (3i);

* that he refrain from consuming alcohol or a banned substance (3j).

Bam said conditions 3 h, i and j “clearly do not serve any purpose” and show “the magistrate was wrong”.

On “3h” he said there was no evidence that he was unstable and needed to report to a probation officer.

The athlete had merely became emotional when the details of Steenkamp's death were read into the court record at his first appearance.

“Let's keep in mind that the charge is very serious.”

Bam said the conditions that Pistorius report to the Brooklyn police station twice a week, and that he not go to his home at the Silverwoods Country Estate, also be disregarded because they were not in magistrate Desmond Nair's order.

He said his court had the right to hear the appeal, because the Criminal Procedure Act did not limit it to the magistrate's court, where the bail application was heard.

The conditions for travel were that Pistorius inform his attorney a week before travelling, and provide an itinerary. He had to hand his passport back to his attorney within 24 hours of his return from travelling.

Bam said Pistorius was well known, had immovable assets and needed his passport to compete. - Sapa



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