According to The Associated Press, Pistorius was granted bail on Friday when Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair announced his decision to a packed courthouse after a two-hour explanation of the ruling.
Charged with premeditated murder, Pistorious was up against the strictest bail requirements as the charge carries a life sentence if convicted. Nair set bail at 1 million rand ($113,000), ordered Pistorius to turn in his passports along with any guns he might own and stay away from his home where the crime occurred.
While prosecutors maintain that the track star shot Steenkamp after the couple had an argument, Pistorius insists it was an accident and he believed she was an intruder. It was his sworn statement that came in the form of a written account that helped sway Nair into granting him bail.
After leaving the courthouse, cameramen followed Pistorius as he was driven to his uncle’s house.
“We are relieved at the fact that Oscar got bail today, but at the same time we are in mourning for the death of Reeva, with her family,” said Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius. “As a family, we know Oscar’s version of what happened on that tragic night and we know that that is the truth and that will prevail in the coming court case.”
Missteps on the part of the prosecution also aided in the release of Pistorius. Lead investigator, Detective Warrant Officer Hilton Botha, who faces seven charges of attempted murder in an unrelated incident, was removed from the case on Thursday. Nair stated Botha committed “errors” and “blunders,” while investigating, but the prosecution, now headed by the nation’s top detective, Vinesh Moonoo, remains confident they can win.
Pistorius’ next court appearance is set for June 4.