Judge grants Oscar Pistorius bail

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — After a roller-coaster four-day bail hearing, Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius was granted bail Friday ahead of his murder trial after Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair ruled there was no risk he would flee to escape justice.

pistoriusIn a major victory for the Pistorius camp, Nair said that the state’s case was not so watertight as to preclude releasing the athlete.

The judge said the state also failed to show that Pistorius was a flight risk, and that while the athlete had a history of aggressive behavior, the state failed to show he was likely to commit violence or interfere with state witnesses if released.

Nair was highly critical of the main police investigator, Hilton Botha, who this week was removed from the case, although he said Botha’s testimony was not the entire state case.

Botha himself faces seven counts of attempted murder for opening fire on a commuter minibus in 2011, it was revealed this week.

Pistorius is accused of premeditated murder for the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day. He insists he mistook her for a burglar when he fired through a bathroom door.

Read more at latimes.com

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