S. Africa’s ‘Blade Runner’ seeks to ease bail terms
Lawyers for Oscar Pistorius told a South African court Thursday that the Paralympic hero, facing a murder trial for the Valentine's Day killing of his girlfriend, was not a flight risk as they sought to ease stringent bail conditions.
“Why would this athlete go to a country without extradition and go and hide?” lawyer Barry Roux asked the High Court. “He is going nowhere.”
Pistorius, 26, is challenging a raft of conditions including strict travel restrictions that he says are unfair and unwarranted.
The double amputee was not in court for the appeal, which is being opposed by the state.
After being freed on a one million rand ($108,000, 84,000 euros) bail last month, the sprint star was ordered to surrender his passport and told to inform a correctional officer if he has to travel outside Pretoria.
But Roux said the strict terms the sprinter faced were tantamount to “house arrest”.
The lawyers also object to the random mandatory alcohol and drug tests that are part of the bail conditions.
The athlete known as “Blade Runner” is also banned from returning to his upmarket gated home in Pretoria where he shot Reeva Steenkamp.
He claims he mistook her for an intruder — though the state maintains that the shooting was premeditated murder.
His lawyers want Pistorius to regain access to his home. They are also challenging a condition that says he can have contact only with three people on his housing estate.
“A blanket restriction on speaking to residents is unfair and will infringe the appellant’s fair trial rights,” they argue in court papers.
Pistorius “is entitled to consult with persons in the estate for purposes of his own defence,” they added.
He became the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in last year’s Olympic Games in London.
His next court appearance is scheduled for June 4.