Pistorious appealing bail so he can travel outside South Africa

Pistorious appealing bail so he can travel outside South Africa

Oscar Pistorius is trying to get his bail conditions changed to allow him to travel outside South Africa.

Lawyers for the amputee athlete, who is staying with relatives as he awaits trial accused of shooting dead his girlfriend, have filed an appeal in a South African court. “The conditions appealed against are unwarranted and not substantiated by the facts,” it said.

The appeal reflected the robust defence strategy of lawyers for Pistorius, who has been staying at his uncle Arnold’s home in a Pretoria suburb since he was released on bail on February 22.

It is a delicate balance because the Pistorius family has also sought to keep a low profile, expressing sorrow for the death of Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius says he mistakenly shot her, thinking she was an intruder in his home. Prosecutors believe he killed her intentionally after an argument.

State prosecutors said they would contest the appeal, although a court date on the matter had not yet been set.

Pistorius argued against the requirement that he surrender all passports and travel documents, and refrain from applying for such documents pending the end of his case.

The lawyers said evidence his bail hearing showed he was not a flight risk and should have the option of travelling outside South Africa as long as he has official permission.

The appeal also said there was “no basis in fact or in law” justifying terms under which Pistorius must be supervised by a probation officer and a correctional official.

James Smalberger, chief deputy commissioner of the department of correctional services, said: “He’s not under house arrest, but his movements need to be known to us so that we don’t pitch there and he’s not there. We agree on ’free time’ normally during the course of the day, and in the evening we expect him to be home.”

The appeal against the bail conditions also objected to the requirement that Pistorius refrain from using alcohol or any banned substance, even though he had no intention of doing so.

“The mere use of any substance with alcohol in it will give rise to a transgression of the wide condition imposed,” the appeal said.

In addition, the runner should be allowed access to the property at Silverwoods Country Estate where he shot Ms Steenkamp, once the state completes its investigations there within a “reasonable time limit,” according to Pistorius’ legal camp.

“A blanket restriction on speaking to residents is unfair” and infringes on Pistorius’ rights to consult people on the estate to prepare for his trial, the appeal said.

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