Pistorius Granted Bail
Pistorius Applied for 6 More Gun Permits 3 Weeks Before he Shot Steenkamp
South Africa–Feb. 22, 2013
“Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius has been allowed to leave prison by posting bail.
The Olympic runner has been charged with murdering his girlfriend, Riva Steenkamp.
After listening to four days of testimony from police officers and the runner’s defense team, Magistrate Desmond Nair decided that Pistorius was not a flight risk, and that the burden of proof that “extraordinary circumstances” were warranted to deny bail had not been met by the prosecution.
The hearings offered a close look at the arguments that both sides will be presenting in the upcoming murder trial.
Yesterday, defense lawyers tore apart arguments presented by Detective Warrant Officer Hilton Botha, questioning many of his assertions that led police to believe that the murder was pre-meditated. Among those facts were whether one of the witnesses who allegedly heard the couple arguing loudly could have really identified them since they lived 600 meters away.
The crime scene had also been compromised, with police investigators failing to cover their shoe prints with special covers. The magistrate also seemed to scoff at the idea that Pistorius was a flight risk yesterday because he is so well known around the world. As of today, Botha has been removed from the murder case.
Mr. Nair said bail was not a matter of guilt and innocence as about determining whether justice was served by holding the bail applicant in custody.
The murder of Ms. Steenkamp is not that unusual, either in South Africa or the world, however.
In a sharply worded article on the topic, The Nation exposes that public demonstrations against murders and violence directed at women had taken place only days before Steenkamp was shot by Pistorious:
Two days before Steenkamp’s death, there were protests outside of the South African parliament about the failures of the state to adjudicate the unsolved rapes and murders of women across the country…The official statistics are shocking. Every seventeen seconds a woman is raped in South Africa yet just one out of nine women report it and only 14 percent of perpetrators are convicted….There have also had to be demonstrations against what the Women’s League of the African National Congress has termed “femicide.” In this country of 50 million people, three women a day are killed by their partners.
That now includes Riva Steenkamp, 29-year-old beauty, shot down during the most important and productive time of her life.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that Pistorius applied for 6 more gun permits a few weeks before the shooting. “The applications were made on Jan. 22, just over three weeks before Pistorius shot his girlfriend dead in his home with a licensed 9 mm pistol.”
Jealousy may have been a motive for the killing, speculated some news outlets. Steenkamp’s phone and computer equipment were seized from the Pistorius home, and rumors have been swirling in the media that the model’s relationship with Springbok rugby player Francois Hougaard, may have played a part in her murder.