As it happened: Pistorius bailed

Key Points

  • Oscar Pistorius has been granted bail by magistrate Desmond Nair
  • The magistrate set bail at 1m rand. Mr Pistorius must hand over his passport and report to police twice a week
  • The magistrate rejected prosecution arguments that there was a risk Mr Pistorius might abscond and bail should be refused
  • The athlete denies murder, saying he shot Reeva Steenkamp thinking she was an intruder at his home
  • All times GMT

    Welcome to our live coverage of day four of court proceedings in South Africa, where a judge is expected to rule whether Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering his girlfriend, can be released on bail. Stay with us for the latest updates in text, video and pictures, plus analysis from the BBC's correspondents, and the best of the comment on social media and via email.


    Legal journalist Karyn Maughan tweets: "Barry Roux reaches out to #OscarPistorius and grabs his hand. 'You're going to (be) okay". Oscar: 'Thank you sir'."


    Mandy Wiener tweets: "Magistrate greets Pistorius and then everyone else. The Blade Runner takes his seat and looks up, eyes shifting around."


    The Guardian's Africa correspondent David Smith quotes prosecutor Gerrie Nel in his tweet: "Pistorius treating it as 'Let me go, let me carry on my career, business as usual.' It can't be business as usual."


    The BBC's Andrew Harding quotes Mr Nel in this tweet: "Reeva in toilet - why did she not shout "what's going on?.. Improbable" version from #OscarPistorius who now fighting sobs behind me."


    Reporter Aldrin Sampear quotes Mr Nel in his tweet: "We agree the applicant cried, was emotional, we agreed he said he thought it was a burglar, But remorse is expected."


    The Guardian's David Smith tweets: "Nel: 'I'm not saying the murder of Reeva Steenkamp was planned days in advance. It was planned that night'."


    There's more on the details of the conflicting accounts of the prosecution and the defence in the case thus far in this piece from BBC News.


    The BBC's Peter Biles, who is outside the court, said Mr Pistorius' coach Ampie Louw has released a statement in which he said: "Oscar is heartbroken. He is just a boy."


    Mr Louw said he was considering putting Mr Pistorius back in training if he is granted bail to allow him to "get his mind kind of clear", according to the Associated Press. But he said he realised the athlete might not be emotionally ready to return to the track.


    Mr Nel has now moved on to discuss the question of Mr Pistorius fleeing South Africa if he is granted bail. The BBC's Andrew Harding tweets: "OscarPistorius might be acquitted. Lots of people think that...But lots of important people skip bail."

    Oscar Pistorius stands at the dock before the start of proceedings at a Pretoria magistrates court Media interest in today's hearing has been intense, as it has throughout the case

    The Independent's reporter in court, Daniel Howden, tweeted: "#Pistorius magistrate fidgeting in chair, looks eager to wrap this up. Prosecution reading Oscar's wikipedia on iPad."


    The magistrate, Desmond Nair, interjected during Mr Nel's closing speech. Legal journalist Karyn Maughan tweets: "Nair: but would kind of life would #OscarPistorius lead if he were to flee? Nel: a life not in prison. Freedom."


    Eyewitness News reporter Barry Bateman tweets: "Nel refers to [Wikileaks founder] Julian Assange - he sits in an embassy in London and no one can touch him. Doesn't matter [how] well-known."

    R Walsh

    texts: Oscar's trainer Ampie Louw may state that Oscar is 'just a boy', I'm afraid a 'boy' with a hand gun and a cricket bat has to face the court as a man!


    Mr Nel has now finished his closing arguments. The court is taking a short break and then Mr Pistorius' lawyer, Barry Roux, will respond.


    tweets: Gun Control, that's what #Pistorius case will come down to.

    Oscar Pistorius in court on Friday The prosecution argues there is a risk Mr Pistorius will flee if granted bail

    On the streets of South Africa, the case has divided opinion. One man, Patel Michaels, told the Reuters agency: "He should be granted bail to my perspective... Let's go back and consider what he has done for South Africa, he bought them a gold medal... I think he should be granted bail, he is not a monster up to so far."


    But Reuters also speaks to Johannesburg resident Nathaniel Matjena who says Mr Pistorius should remain in custody up to and throughout the trial. "It's a very unfortunate situation. At the end of the day he shot somebody, so I don't think that at this point he does deserve bail."


    The Times' Lucy Bannerman tweets: "ANC women's league member I meet in loo predicts a riot if #Pistorius bailed. 'It's not going to be a positive scene. Femicide is big issue.'"

    L to R: Aimee, Carl and Henk Pistorius Mr Pistorius' father Henke is in court awaiting the bail decision, with his son Carl and daughter Aimee
    Skid, Namibia

    tweets: For those that think/believe it was a "tragic accident" Would you still believe so if it was your sister, mother or best friend? #OSCAR


    The hearing has now resumed and defence lawyer Barry Roux is on his feet to present his arguments.


    Reporter Aldrin Sampear tweets: "Defence: he did not want to kill Reeva he had no intend to kill Reeva...but the charge here is that he wanted to kill Reeva."


    ITV's Rohit Kachroo, who is in court, tweets: "Pace of proceedings frustrating many relatives. Not clear whether decision on bail will be today, Monday or some other time."


    ITV's Rohit Kachroo tweets: "Close friends of Reeva have arrived in court. They're sitting a few yards from Oscar's family. 'We wanted to be here' one says."


    Defence lawyer Barry Roux has been giving a legal masterclass about the difference between "dolus directis" and "dolus eventualis", which relate to the intention to kill. Mr Roux argues that Mr Pistorius' case is the latter, meaning that he did not intend to kill the person who died, but intended to do harm to another person, ie a burglar who he thought was in the bathroom. The prosecution claim he did intend to kill Reeva Steenkamp.


    Mr Roux has turned to the question of whether Mr Pistorius is a flight risk. He claims it is very unlikely, partly because of the athlete's disability. The Guardian's David Smith tweets: "Roux: 'Those legs need maintenance and adjustment on a monthly basis'. He needs medical treatment for the stumps."

    0959: Breaking News

    Mr Roux has finished his arguments and the magistrate has told the courtroom that the bail decision will be delivered at 14:30 local time (12:30 GMT).

    A mourner carries a Reeva Steenkamp photograph at her funeral Mr Pistorius insists he was in love with Reeva Steenkamp and maintains her death was an accident

    The Times' Lucy Bannerman tweets: "#Pistorius looks v still+emotionless today. None of shaking, sobbing or head-holding we've seen over past few days."


    The four-day hearing has heard conflicting details of what happened on 14 February - Valentine's Day - between 04:00 and 05:00 local time (02:00 and 03:00 GMT). Explore the 3D impression of his house to find out the key issues which are contested.


    The BBC's Milton Nkosi said the magistrate Desmond Nair had a "very difficult job" weighing up all the evidence and all the different points made by two very eminent lawyers, prosecutor Gerrie Nel and defence counsel Barry Roux. "I don't envy his job at this stage," said Mr Nkosi.


    The Oscar Pistorius case, and the removal of the investigating officer Hilton Botha, has once again highlighted the problems facing the police in South Africa. Here the BBC's Africa correspondent Andrew Harding looks at the under-funding and poor standards which lead to low clear-up rates for serious crimes like murder and rape.

    Tumi Msiza in Gauteng, South Africa

    tweets: A part of me breaks for #OscarPistorius but another part reminds me that #Reeva's life was taken away☹ #MixedEmotions

    Corinna Hussey

    tweets: Let us not forget there is a victim in this tragedy, why all the sympathy for #OscarPistorius ?

    Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

    tweets: Yet to meet anyone who thinks #OscarPistorius won't get bail. Prosecution simply pushing defence to reveal their case before full trial.


    Whereas South Africa's courts have a reputation for being professional and independent, other parts of the country's criminal justice system have come in for frequent criticism, says the BBC's Farouk Chothia in this article.


    As the court awaits magistrate Desmond Nair's decision, Stephen Tuson, a South African law professor, told the Associated Press that poor health, a weak prosecution case or a disability could be reasons to grant bail to someone charged with murder. But Mr Tuson says: "[The matter of exceptional reasons] is not defined. We've had to have this concept expanded by the courts on a case by case basis."

    Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

    tweets: "Magistrate's #OscarPistorius ruling could take an hour to deliver. Am told he has a habit of quoting Shakespeare."


    Legal journalist Karyn Maughan tweets: "If #OscarPistorius doesn't get bail - which is highly unlikely - his lawyers will bring urgent bail appeal in Pretoria High Court."


    Magistrate Desmond Nair is due to deliver his decision imminently - we will have the live audio feed of the decision on this page.


    Magistrate Desmond Nair has entered the courtroom and begun speaking. It may be some time before it becomes clear if Oscar Pistorius will be granted bail.

    Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

    tweets: #OscarPistorius back in court for last appearance at this bail hearing. Looks calm.


    Magistrate Desmond Nair is now explaining why he has decided to allow only audio coverage of the hearing and banned television cameras.


    The magistrate Desmond Nair says television can "distort" the public perception of a court case, especially when edited down for news bulletins.

    Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

    tweets: This is a little painful. Everyone in court straining for a judgement. Wheels of justice etc.


    BBC News Africa producer, Kate Forbes, tweets: "The defence objected to the media 'live- televising' judgement we hear."

    Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

    tweets: "Nair: photographers confronting #OscarPistorius in court "raises picture that accused is some kind of species that world not seen before.""


    Magistrate Desmond Nair has been discussing whether it was right for Oscar Pistorius to stay in the cells at the police station rather than being transferred to a local prison as is normally the case. Mr Nair says he believed it was important for Mr Pistorius' lawyer to consult with him at the police station.

    Lydia Polgreen New York Times' Johannesburg bureau chief

    tweets: #Pistorius fighting back tears as Magistrate Nair recaps his affidavit.


    The Guardian's David Smith tweets: "Nair recounts Pistorius's version of events. Pistorius begins crying softly and swallowing."

    Lydia Polgreen New York Times' Johannesburg bureau chief

    tweets: "The deceased died in his arms." #Pistorius sobbing hard as Magistrate Nair reads these words.


    ITV's Rohit Kachroo tweets: "Lips clenched, Pistorius bows head, wipes his nose as magistrate describes how he introduced Reeva to his friends."


    Magistrate Desmond Nair is now recapping the evidence of the original investigating officer, Warrant Officer Hilton Botha, who testified during the hearing. Mr Botha, who faces seven counts of attempted murder regarding an unrelated incident in 2011, has been removed from the case and replaced by Lieutenant General Vineshkumar Moonoo, who is in court.

    Lt Gen Vineshkumar Moonoo The new investigating officer in charge of the case, Lt Gen Vineshkumar Moonoo, who is in court as Mr Nair gives his ruling
    Mark, London

    emails: In what world can a person who shot someone four times be eligible for bail?


    The courtroom is packed with journalists, photographers, lawyers, police officers and relatives as well as some members of the public. This picture gallery gives an insight into the court. Magistrate Desmond Nair has banned television cameras.

    Ellie Hallmark, Poole

    emails: Whatever happens, whether Oscar is innocent or guilty, he will never get away from what has happened. He will have to carry it with him in his head and his heart forever, which is the worst punishment he can have. My thoughts are with all concerned, especially Reeva and her family.


    Magistrate Desmond Nair has now moved on to discuss the history of bail in the Republic of South Africa. Eyewitness News reporter Mandy Wiener tweets: "For those of you unaccustomed to court proceedings, this is the boring, important, legal bit."

    The bathroom where Reeva Steenkamp was killed Earlier this week the bail hearing was shown a plan of the bathroom and toilet where the shooting took place

    Magistrate Desmond Nair says those accused of murder are usually held in custody pending trial but there are "exceptional circumstances" which can allow for bail to be granted. He points out that South African jails are extremely overcrowded.

    Fiona, Singapore

    emails: Innocent until proven guilty. The onus should be on the prosecution to prove guilt rather than Oscar to prove innocence. So far he has made a plausible account, which has not yet been disproved by solid evidence.


    Magistrate Desmond Nair says it is not up to him to decide whether Mr Pistorius had carried out a premeditated murder. Instead he needs to see that the prosecution has made a prima facie case for premeditated murder.


    The court has briefly adjourned. The reason for the break is not clear.


    SABC reporter Chriselda Lewis tweets a photograph, with this caption: "People are surrounding cars outside court to listen to radio for #OscarPistorius bail application decision."


    Magistrate Desmond Nair has now returned to court and is continuing to give his ruling.


    Magistrate Desmond Nair says bail can only be granted if he is convinced the defendant meets three criteria - he will not flee the jurisdiction; he will not try to intimidate witnesses; he is not himself a dangerous person.

    Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

    tweets: "Nair still outlining context of judgment but no hint yet which way it will go for #0scarPistorius."


    Magistrate Desmond Nair says the police officer who initially led the inquiry, Hilton Botha, made a number of "errors" at the start of the investigation. Among these were the failure to trace mobile phones and the possible contamination of the crime scene by not wearing covers on his shoes.


    Magistrate Desmond Nair says Detective Botha "blundered" when he suggested that testosterone had been found in Mr Pistorius' house. It later turned out to be a herbal remedy.


    Eyewitness News reporter Barry Bateman tweets: "Nair is clearly annoyed at Botha's poor investigation and conduct."

    Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

    tweets: "I sense Nair building up to granting bail...Then again."


    Magistrate Desmond Nair says: "It can never be said that Warrant Officer Hilton Botha is the state's case. It's the evidence of Hilton Botha that has been tarnished by cross examination. (But) he is not the state's case."


    Magistrate Desmond Nair says there are some aspects of the accused's evidence which are quite "pronounced". He says he has difficulty in understanding why the defendant did not ascertain where his girlfriend was before shooting into the bathroom.


    Mulling over the possibility of flight risk, magistrate Desmond Nair says Mr Pistorius is a professional athlete who travels all over the world but he has lived in South Africa all his life and has significant assets in South Africa. He says he is willing to hand over his passport.


    Magistrate Desmond Nair says it has not been established that Mr Pistorius is a flight risk.

    Matthew, London

    emails: People forgetting that this is just a hearing about bail. A real hearing is still to take place and I don't really see what bail will do for Pistorius. He has already been charged with murder and will have to live with that.


    South African radio reporter Aldrin Sampear tweets: "#OscarPistorius Magistrate says the grounds that the accused could be violent again has not been established."


    Legal journalist Karyn Maughan tweets: "The tension on the faces of #OscarPistorius's family is starting to lift. They know he's coming home."


    Daily Telegraph southern Africa correspondent Aislinn Laing tweets: "#OscarPistorius: Stark reminder of what's happened here - Reeva Steenkamp's flatmate sitting to my left looking crushed."

    Rosemarie Kuropka-Smith, Ringwood, Hampshire

    emails: Who will look after Oscar's mental and physical welfare if bail is granted? Is he safe and mentally OK to be released without fear of self-harm, suicide risk or risk from others?


    Magistrate Desmond Nair is turning to the question of whether there would be "public outrage" if Mr Pistorius was released on bail. He said he would need to see evidence that there was potential for violent disorder if he was released from custody.

    1423: Breaking News

    Oscar Pistorius has been granted bail by magistrate Desmond Nair.


    Magistrate Desmond Nair said in view of the "totality of the evidence" he concludes Mr Pistorius should be granted bail while he awaits trial for murder.


    Eyewitness News correspondent Barry Bateman tweets: "#OscarPistorius shouts of YES! From the back of the court. We adjourn. Conditions of bail to come."

    Sidney Arnold, London

    emails: Hopefully now that Pistorius has been granted bail, everybody can take a step back and mourn the loss of an innocent young woman who had her whole life ahead of her.


    The court has adjourned for five minutes and will discuss terms of bail when the magistrate Desmond Nair returns.


    ITV reporter Rohit Kachroo tweets: "Relatives (of Mr Pistorius) embrace, cry and pray. Family link arms hugging in the public gallery."


    The Independent's Daniel Howden tweets: "Defence counsel says they will offer 250,000 rand in bail after #Nair ruling." The figure of 250,000 rand is worth roughly £18,000.

    Oscar Pistorius on the athletics track Before the hearing, Mr Pistorius' coach Ampie Louw said he hoped the athlete would be back in training soon if he was granted bail

    Magistrate Desmond Nair has set bail conditions - Mr Pistorius must deposit 1m rand (£73,823) in cash and guarantees, he must hand over his passport, avoid his home in Pretoria and report to a police station between 07:00 and 13:00 every Monday and Friday.


    Mr Pistorius is next due in court on 4 June but his trial may not be for many months. Magistrate Desmond Nair also ordered him to give up all his firearms as a condition of bail.


    The Times' Lucy Bannerman tweets: "Bail is 1million Rand- 100,000 in cash immediately; 900,000 in guarantees + sureties by next Friday."


    BBC News producer Kate Forbes tweets: "Oscar uncle: yes we are relieved that Oscar got bail but at the same time we are in mourning for the death of Reeva."


    Oscar Pistorius is expected to be freed soon. The Pistorius family have been speaking after the bail hearing. BBC News producer Kate Forbes quotes the family in this tweet: "As a family we know Oscar's version of what happened that tragic night and we know that is the truth and that will prevail."


    During this week's bail hearing some commentators have been comparing Mr Pistorius' lawyer, Barry Roux, to OJ Simpson's lawyer, the late Johnnie Cochran. Eyewitness News reporter Mandy Wiener tweets: "Barry Roux walks down court passage with TV spotlights shining in face. The new SA legal superstar."


    The AFP news agency reports that as part of the bail conditions, magistrate Desmond Nair also said Mr Pistorius "shall refrain from using any prohibited substance and or alcohol".


    The New York Times Johannesburg bureau chief Lydia Polgreen tweets: 'I think it is important to remember that someone lost their life,' Kim Myers, friend of Reeva, reacting to #Pistorius bail."


    The Africa correspondent for the Canadian Globe and Mail newspaper, Geoffrey York tweets: "ANC women's league: 'What is distressing is the reaction of some men in court who jumped up and celebrated ... as if they had won a trophy'.


    The Reuters news agency reports that a car believed to be carrying Oscar Pistorius has left Pretoria magistrates court, pursued by motorcycles.


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