Former sprint runner Oscar Pistorius was released today on bail. He’ll be under house arrest until the court decides his sentence on the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp two years ago.
The case had initially ended with a five years sentence for manslaughter, of which Pistorius served one. Last week, the sentence was overthrown by South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal, that gave the sportsman a more serious sentence of murder — which would mean at least 15 years in prison in South African laws — so he paid a bail of $692 to remain under house arrest at his uncle’s place until the sentence was decided.
The alleged murder occurred in 2013 on Valentine’s Day, when the former track runner shot Steenkamp through the door of a bathroom stall, and although Pistorius claims he did it by mistake thinking there was an intruder, prosecutors argue that the man committed murder after the couple had a fight.
Given that judges don’t usually grant bails to those whose cases end up receiving a more severe sentence, the conditions of Pistorius’ bail are strict. Following the directions of judge Aubrey Ledwaba, the suspect will undergo electronic surveillance and won’t be allowed to get more than 12 miles away from his uncle’s house, only between 7 a.m and 12 p.m.
According to Stephen Tuson, professor from Johannesburg’s Wits School of Law, the Constitutional Court has the right to ignore Pistorius’ case, even if it has enough authority to hear any kind of cases, including those that push constitutional boundaries. If the court, in fact, chooses not to hear it, the convicted will be taken back to another court on April 18th to wait for his sentence.
“We’re not convinced that the accused has made out a good case and that his application to the Constitutional Court will be successful, but we acknowledge that he has the right to bring such an application,” said Gerrie Nel, one of the case’s prosecutors.
Because under South African law one can be convicted of murder if the person knows their actions can be potentially lethal to another human being, one of the arguments the prosecutors have is that Pistorius should have known that repeatedly shooting through the door — intruder or not — would most likely get the person killed.
Pistorius will remain under house arrest until his sentence is resolved.
Source: New York Times