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SA court lifts Pistorius travel restrictions

Two bail conditions set aside for Paralympian who was arrested on Febraury 14 following shooting death of girlfriend.

Last Modified: 28 Mar 2013 11:59
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Pistorius contesting the conditions of his release on bail ahead of his court date in June [Reuters]

A South African court has lifted bail restrictions on Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, allowing him to travel abroad.    

Judge Bert Bam, of the High Court in Pretoria, set aside on Thursday two bail conditions imposed on the murder suspect, said Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa, reporting from Johannesburg. 

"I find that the magistrate's decision not to grant the appellant his passport to travel abroad was wrong," Bam told the court.

The 26-year-old's passport must be handed to his attorney and the "applicant be allowed to use his passport outside South Africa", said Bam.

Pistorius, who was arrested on February 14 following the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, was not present for the appeal hearing. 

Pistorius lawyers have appealed against some of his bail restrictions, saying the Olympic athlete might eventually need to return to track competition to earn money.

Prosecutors have opposed relaxing Pistorius' bail restrictions.

But his lawyer Barry Roux said his client's current bail restrictions amount to "house arrest'.

'Going nowhere'

Roux said that Pistorius would not try and evade trial if he is allowed to travel internationally, and the multiple Paralympic champion would eventually need to run again "to earn an income".

"He is not going to run away and hide. He is going nowhere,'' Roux told the judge .

Roux also argued against the ruling that Pistorius is not allowed to return to his home in a gated community in the eastern suburbs of Pretoria, where he shot Steenkamp dead in the early hours of Valentine's Day.

The bail ruling prevented him from returning to his home or speaking to residents, but his lawyers said he must be allowed to consult with residents in order to prepare his defense against the murder charge against him.

Pistorius said he killed Steenkamp accidentally when he fired shots through a door in his bathroom in the pre-dawn hours, fearing there was an intruder in his house.

Prosecutors said he shot the model and reality TV star intentionally after they argued, and they have charged him with premeditated murder.

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Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies
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