The Chief Magistrate Nair finds Oscar Pistorius has “made a case to be released on bail”. Bail is granted. Pistorius will await trial as a free man outside prison. The Magistrate found Pistorius was not a flight risk, no evidence he will intimidate witnesses and no propensity for violence. Based on those findings, bail was inevitable. A big victory for Pistorius. And, given he won’t be in custody, there will likely be no rush to trial. You can expect continuances and delays in the trial date.
This was a bail hearing, yet, the State remarkably failed to provide sufficient evidence to deny bail. For instance, evidence to support that Pistorius threatened to break someone’s legs, shot a gun in public, was violent in public or owns a home in Italy.
Pistorius’ affidavit made the difference in the bail hearing. Very risky move to lay out so many facts in an affidavit, but, it kept Pistorius out of jail. Also, it gave the defense an opportunity to plant seeds, lock in and question some State testimony before the State has had time to complete their investigation and the opportunity to potentially “influence” public opinion and fact finders. First impression does matter.
The Magistrate considered that Pistorius “reached out to try to meet the States case” in his affidavit with his “version under oath” unlike the “flimsy” denial affidavits he tends to get. However, the Magistrate did have problems with Pistorius’ affidavit. For instance, why Pistorius didn’t check with his girlfriend, the victim Reeva Steenkamp when he left the bed? Why Pistorius didn’t call out as to who was in the toilet? Why he put himself in danger when he went back to get his gun and return to the bathroom? Why the victim didn’t call out?
And, the Magistrate had serious problems with Investigator Botha and his investigative skills, although, he said, Botha is “not the States case”.
While we await the trial, you can expect much public debate about violence against women, the South African justice system, whether Pistorius is being treated like any other accused and whether Pistorius murdered Reeva Steenkamp.
Low bail for a premeditated murder case? Bail was set at $114k, surrender passport & guns, no alcohol and he can’t return to his home.
BTW, in the United States, most defendants accused of premeditated murder don’t get bail and bail hearings don’t last three days but rather 15 minutes in America’s crowded courtrooms. Also, many judges may have considered the repeated and unprovoked, reckless at best, shooting of someone behind a locked door as evidence of a propensity of violence to deny bail. And, most US prosecutors would have had evidence to prove a flight risk and the prior acts of violence, alleged above, when they request no bail.
Meanwhile, a 29-year-old women is dead. Shot 4 times by her boyfriend.
Next Court date June 4, 2013.
Simply my opinion, what say you?