Where in the world can you murder someone and then get bail so you can earn some money? Oscar Pistorius

(46 Posts)
vivizone Thu 28-Mar-13 12:05:11

South Africa is crazy

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/28/oscar-pistorius-permission-leave-south-africa

Oscar Pistorius granted permission to leave South Africa to compete

Lawyers for athlete appealed against his bail restrictions, saying he might eventually need to return to track to earn money

A South African judge has ruled that Oscar Pistorius, who is charged with murdering his girlfriend, can leave South Africa to compete in international athletics competitions.

Lawyers for the Olympic and Paralympic athlete had appealed against some of his bail restrictions on Thursday, saying he might eventually need to return to track competition to earn money.

They argued their client, who is charged with premeditated murder after shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead on 14 Februrary, was being treated as a flight risk even though a magistrate ruled last month that he was not when he released the double-amputee runner on bail.

The court has, however, imposed conditions on Pistorius should he wish to travel. He must provide authorities with his travel plans at least a week before he leaves the country, and must return his passport to the court within 24 hours of returning to South Africa.

Lawyer Barry Roux said Pistorius has no desire to return to the track now, but "this might and this will change".

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

Pistorius was not required to attend his appeal hearing and neither he nor any of his family members were present at North Gauteng high court in Pretoria.

SirChenjin Thu 28-Mar-13 12:07:24

I thought this might happen....the arrogance of the man is staggering. Surely to goodness he wouldn't actually think of competing, would he??

He hasn't been convicted of murder yet. Yes, he did kill her but no one has yet proved that he murdered her.

currentbuns Thu 28-Mar-13 12:17:50

This is sickening. I dread to think how her poor family must feel.

chickenfactory Thu 28-Mar-13 12:23:18

So nobody should work while on bail? Even if they are eventually found to be innocent?

thezebrawearspurple Thu 28-Mar-13 12:26:33

I can't believe they gave him permission to leave the country! Not sure there will be many countries lining up to welcome him though, they'll never get rid.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Thu 28-Mar-13 12:26:52

The point is that he should never have been released on bail. Then this added complication wouldn't have arisen. In the UK, I would imagine it's almost unheard of for someone to be charged with murder then released on bail. (Could be talking out my arse of course).

SirChenjin Thu 28-Mar-13 12:27:37

He killed his girlfriend and an innocent woman who must have spent her last minutes on this earth in abject terror - whether or not it's murder or manslaughter he should show a bit of moral decency and keep his head down until after he is proved innocent.

MichelleRooJnr Thu 28-Mar-13 12:31:14

Well - probably quite a few places actually.
And certainly here.
A person will usually only be remanded while bailed if there is a risk of them re-offending or they are a serious flight or suicide risk.
Murder is usually fairly victim-specific, and someone who is facing charges of murdering someone would not usually be a risk of killing anyone else.
So - why not have them do something worthwhile like work rather than take up precious prison space if its not in the interests of public safety?
He has not been convicted yet.

currentbuns Thu 28-Mar-13 12:31:39

There does seem to be a groundswell of apologist claptrap sympathy and support for OP... The man killed his girlfriend. Irrespective of the circumstances, he should not be globetrotting or pursuing his career until he has been tried. The very fact that he even applied for an easing of his bail restrictions suggests an extraordinary level of arrogance and disrespect for the victim's family.

currentbuns Thu 28-Mar-13 12:32:22

Cross-posts SirChenjin

SoupDreggon Thu 28-Mar-13 12:34:55

Where in the world can you murder someone and then get bail so you can earn some money?

Probably anywhere.

Bridgetbidet Thu 28-Mar-13 12:48:53

He's not been convicted of anything yet. If this was any other person in any other profession provided that their employer was okay to let them continue working and it posed no risk to others, then why not?

Let justice take it's course. Stopping him from earning a living just from some kneejerk mob response without him even being tried yet wouldn't be justice.

KellyElly Thu 28-Mar-13 12:54:16

So nobody should work while on bail? Even if they are eventually found to be innocent? Not if it involves leaving the country when you are accused of murder.

BegoniaBampot Thu 28-Mar-13 12:59:19

I used to sit next to guy at the park who would be discussing his upcoming case with his solicitor. He was on bail for his wife's murder so yes you can get bail in the UK. Not that I was earwigging or anything.

vivi
Whilst I can understand why you have posted your shock at him wanting to vary his bail restrictions your post did concern me.

The presumption of innocence is vital to justice. There is no question that he caused Reeva's death but he has not committed murder until he is convicted of that crime. None of us really know what happened that night. If you start deciding guilt and innocent based on garbled press reports, police statements and limited evidence for bail hearings where does it end. So unless and until he is convicted he hasn't committed murder.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Thu 28-Mar-13 13:09:43

If he's a flight risk, he shouldn't have been granted bail. But he was. So, from a legal standpoint, which is where the judge's interest lies, leaving the country is no different. He will, presumably, return for his trial.

From a moral standpoint, it's abhorrent. But I don't think this is the judge's remit.

megandraper Thu 28-Mar-13 13:09:48

Don't most people accused of a crime carry on working until the trial? I don't have any personal experience, but would have thought that was the case! What would they live on if they didn't work?

SirChenjin Thu 28-Mar-13 13:18:57

I suspect that Oscar really isn't on the breadline. Whether or not he should do what he's doing from a legal pov is one thing - he was originally prevented from travelling after he was granted bail, but has decided now to appeal that - but the stronger arguement for whether or not he should travel and compete should perhaps be a moral question for the man.

He's obviously decided that his moral code dictates that after killing an innocent woman he should, just a few weeks later while her family are still in the depths of their grief, appeal his original bail term and get back to his normal life competing at international level and earning big bucks.

Interesting decision for someone who is supposed to be a broken, devastated man.

LisasCat Thu 28-Mar-13 13:22:09

How is someone supposed to pay for a defence lawyer if they're prohibited from working while awaiting trial? This case will cost Pistorius £100,000s in legal fees. Would you rather the state pick up the cost? He needs to earn money to access his entitlement to legal defence, and for him the earnings are abroad.
I don't quite understand why so many of you assume he'll not return. Who exactly is going to harbor one of the most high-profile murder suspects in the world? Which government would have anything to gain by doing that? The Assange case is different, because there's an element of 'socking it to the US', but I'm not aware of anyone who stands to benefit by making a political point to SA.

monsterchild Thu 28-Mar-13 13:26:43

He's not such a flight risk as everyone in the world knows who he is. He can't just disappear, a double amputee runner from AS is a pretty specific person. Disappearing is a lot harder than it used to be.
Think of all the vigilant people like you OP who would totally post his whereabouts on Facebook or here for the police to find him.

Mumsyblouse Thu 28-Mar-13 13:28:12

Well, he intended to shoot someone, even if it wasn't her. So, he cannot be innocent of all crimes, even if it is not the one with which he is currently charged.

Boomtastic Thu 28-Mar-13 13:35:40

He's not such a flight risk as everyone in the world knows who he is. He can't just disappear, a double amputee runner from AS is a pretty specific person. Disappearing is a lot harder than it used to be.

He doesn't have to disappear, just get into a country with no extradition treaty with SA.

vivizone Thu 28-Mar-13 13:36:36

You're correct ChazsBrilliantAttitude. I sometimes get ahead of myself. I am still shocked though.

Would a not famous man from South Africa actually get bailed and be allowed to travel?

I am going to say something that will probably get me in stick but I believe it does pay to be a powerful white male.

SirChenjin Thu 28-Mar-13 13:39:45

Lisa - did you watch the trial and hear his financial status? He can already afford the defence from his current assets.

I don't think it's a case of him disappearing - although I would imagine there are countries he could get to without having to worry about deportation as such - but it's certainly a moral question of whether or not he should have appealed the original decision on the grounds that he now wants to compete in international athletics.

Given the high profile nature of this tragic case and the grief that he has brought to a family I would have thought he would do better to keep his head down, abide by the judge's original decision, and show respect to them and the woman he killed.

Mumsy
Self defence is a complete defence so shooting someone in self defence is not a crime as such.

SoupDreggon Thu 28-Mar-13 14:00:17

he might eventually need to return to track competition to earn money.

Note it says eventually need to return to competition. Not immediately.

SoupDreggon Thu 28-Mar-13 14:01:39

He doesn't have to disappear, just get into a country with no extradition treaty with SA.

Presumably this is why the conditions are: He must provide authorities with his travel plans at least a week before he leaves the country, and must return his passport to the court within 24 hours of returning to South Africa.

He isn't free to go gallivanting round the world.

Self defence is a complete defence so shooting someone in self defence is not a crime as such. Even if it is laughable? So, if I see a toddler with a banana who I genuinely believe will kill me, and I kill them, do I get off? Because no one was actually threatening Oscar. No one. Even believing him, there was a noise in his bathroom. Not a masked intruder...

Wasn't he also asking to be able to drink alcohol? What was the outcome there?

currentbuns Thu 28-Mar-13 14:12:36

Apparently he was granted all of the changes to the bail conditions he requested, including the ban on alcohol.

Lovely, so he can have a nice glass of champers too. angry

Gardentreehouse Thu 28-Mar-13 14:14:46

Unless you are his family/lawyer, you do not know what happened.

BeCool Thu 28-Mar-13 14:19:59

Bridget it's hardly a kneejerk response.

Sure he's not been found 'guilty' (yet), but there is no doubt he brutally killed his girlfriend (a guest in his home) - if not by premeditated murder, then by his utter and absolute stupidity. Frankly I don't know which is worse!!

BeCool Thu 28-Mar-13 14:22:25

and let's all remember there was NO INTRUDER, and no threat to Oscar at all - there was no need to defend himself whatsoever.

There was clearly a very real and deadly threat to his guest.

Boomtastic Thu 28-Mar-13 14:27:50

He isn't free to go gallivanting round the world.

According to his bail conditions, no he isn't, but once outside SA and in possession of a passport, it makes it a lot easier for him to jump bail, should he choose to try. The judge is taking a risk in my opinion.

LittleTurtle Thu 28-Mar-13 14:31:22

Obviously the lawyers want him to go out and earn lots of money to pay them.

A few weeks ago, OP was on suicide watch, but he seems to have recovered so well as to want to go and compete then.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Thu 28-Mar-13 14:34:05

Agree it seems very distasteful. You would think he would settle for lying low and mourning.

Fudgemallowdelight Wed 03-Apr-13 01:23:19

He must provide authorities with his travel plans at least a week before he leaves the country

So can they refuse for him to leave the country if it is to a country with no extradition treaty with SA?

Are SA murder suspects normally granted permission to leave the country for work then?

mayorquimby Wed 03-Apr-13 01:32:53

"So, if I see a toddler with a banana who I genuinely believe will kill me, and I kill them, do I get off?"

If its an honestly held belief then yes

Booyhoo Wed 03-Apr-13 01:56:46

i would suspect that this was encouraged or probably suggested by his lawyers. to appeal everything like this makes it look like he definitely thinks he is innocent. arrogance can often be labelled 'confidence' and that is probably what they are hoping for. and innocent person will appeal all the restrictions because they feel them unjust based on the fact they are innocent whereas if he had just accepted them it might look a bit like he was accepting he deserved them.

just my opinion.

DaemonPantalaemon Wed 03-Apr-13 08:09:41

What a lot of tosh on this thread. All of the people saying "you do not know what happened" have clearly not read OP's affidavit.

By his own admission he fired at a closed door.

By his own admission he did not call out to see if his girlfriend was safe. He did not check the bed to see where she was.

All this is in his own statement, told from his point of view. So we actually do know what happened. And if it did indeed happen as he says it did, it is truly bad.

Innocence is a concept in law, you can be legally innocent of murdering someone if you did not have intent to kill. It does not mean you did not kill that person. Killing includes murder, manslaughter etc. Drunk drivers, for instance, can kill people without intention. The dead will still be dead, still be killed, even if there was no intention. There is no question at all that he shot Reeva, that he killed her, so please stop saying he is innocent of killing her. He may be innocent of murder, and that is a legal question for the trial to determine, but he is definitely not innocent of killing her.

BeCool Wed 03-Apr-13 10:15:37

mayorquimby surely its a REASONABLE belief test, rather than honestly held belief test (or is that the way in SA)?

No 'reasonable person' would agree that a toddler with a banana would pose a deadly threat to anyone. So even if you argue that YOU believed that (and how could you ever show if you did or didn't), you would fail on the 'reasonable person' test.

mayorquimby Wed 03-Apr-13 10:32:11

Well no it's subjective to the person because you have to prove that they had the requisite mens rea for the crime they're accused of.
However the caveat to this is that the more unreasonable a belief is the less likely that it is honestly held.

Whether a belief is honestly held is a question of fact for the jury, so if someone were to claim that they believed a toddler with a banana to be a deadly threat then it would be for a jury to decide as a matter of fact whether or not this was true.

So as you say nobody would accept that a rational person believed a baby with a banana to be a threat to their life unless some ridiculously unlikely and convoluted scenario presented itself.

However it is quite possible for less ridiculous but still highly unlikely scenarios to occur where it should be open to someone to argue that they were acting in self defence based on circumstances which lead them to believe that they or another person where in danger even though they are mistaken to the actual facts of the matter.

That doesn't mean that they should succeed or that Oscar p is innocent, just that the defence should be available to them.
And it's not simply a case of saying "I believed X and you can't prove I didn't" " because ultimately it is a matter of fact for the jury to decide so it is not just accepted on the basis of "well we have no way of knowing what they were actually thinking", it is up to the jury to assess the evidence and decide if, given all the circumstances presented, the defendant honestly believed that there was a threat and if they acted proportionately to the threat they perceived rather than the objective threat we now know existed (I.e. none)

mayorquimby Wed 03-Apr-13 10:33:59

Sorry this is based on English & Irish law
Could be completely different to the s.a.
The question I initially responded to seemed to be asking a general question rather than s.a. Specific sorry for any confusion

difficultpickle Wed 03-Apr-13 10:38:48

His agent was on Sportsweek (Radio 5) last Sunday. It was one of the most offensive interviews I have ever heard. It left the presenter (Garry Richardson) and the guest journalist (can't remember who, may have been Patrick Collins) speechless. He went on about how much support OP had had both in SA and internationally and how loads of athletic promoters were contacting him desperate for OP to appear at their athletics meets. And how it was perfectly reasonable for OP to continue his athletics career. When pressed he admitted that OP was not actually training and hadn't done so since the murder.

TheCraicDealer Wed 03-Apr-13 11:43:08

Frankly I'd love to see what reception he gets if he managed to wangle this and travel for "work". His agent is bullshitting, trying to convince the world that his client is the same desirable, valuable commodity that he was before Valentines Day. Newsflash, mate- he isn't. This has irreparably damaged his career.

I don't think the actions of his legal team are any reflection on him. Having terms made less restrictive and making their clients' lives more palatable is how they earn their fee.

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