A brief update on the Oscar Pistorius case: the runner, charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has been granted bail. This marks the end of a lengthy bail hearing that took a surreal turn yesterday when it was revealed that the case’s lead investigator was facing attempted murder charges of his own. That wasn’t the only controversy surrounding the investigation, either:
The prosecution had several notable missteps during the bail hearing, including the removal of the lead investigator, who had earlier acknowledged under questioning from defense attorney Barry Roux that police could have contaminated the crime scene and had failed to properly catalog evidence.
That said, the judge noted “improbabilities” in the defense’s case as well, but ultimately decided to free Pistorius from custody. While the judge said he didn’t think Pistorius was a risk to flee to another country (say, one with no extradition arrangement with South Africa, perhaps), today’s decision will undoubtedly be – and really, already is – one more lightning rod for controversy in a case that already wasn’t hurting for them. And that’s before the trial even happens. Hope everyone’s ready for a circus.
UPDATE: Bail was set at 1 million South African rand, which equates to approximately 112,000 U.S. dollars. However, to be released, only 10 percent of that total must be paid immediately in cash. Conditions of the bail:
Pistorius must give up his passport, surrender all his firearms, and avoid communication with any possible witnesses. He cannot leave South Africa (he can’t even go into an airport) and must get permission to leave the state of Pretoria. That means he wouldn’t be able to compete in any international track and field events for the time being. He is also banned from using drugs or alcohol and may be tested by a probation officer at any time.
Pistorius is next scheduled to appear in court on June 4.