Skip to main content

South Africa judge lifts travel ban on Oscar Pistorius

By Nkepile Mabuse and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 4:35 PM EDT, Fri March 29, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Pistorius could run at the Moscow World Championships if he qualifies, IAAF says
  • Judge: There's no reason why Pistorius shouldn't be able to travel overseas to compete
  • Magistrate did not include ban on Pistorius going home in formal bail order, judge says
  • Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp

Pretoria, South Africa (CNN) -- South African track star Oscar Pistorius, charged with murder in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, is once more allowed to travel overseas after a judge lifted a bail condition Thursday restricting his movements.

Judge Bert Bam said that Pistorius' passport could be held by his attorney, Barry Roux, instead of the court and that he was entitled to use it to travel outside South Africa.

Bam said he saw no reason why Pistorius "should be forbidden to leave South Africa if invited to compete overseas."

Pistorius should report his itinerary a week before leaving and hand his travel documents back over to his lawyer within 24 hours of returning to South Africa, Bam said at Pretoria's North Gauteng High Court.

Pistorius not suicidal, family says

Toobin: Pistorius plea deal is possible
Pistorius wants to travel before trial
Toobin: Pistorius plea deal is possible
Pistorius cell phone holds vital clue

The athlete may also now drink alcohol and return home to the scene of the crime, he ruled.

Bam said the magistrate who imposed the original bail restrictions last month had not included the prohibition on Pistorius returning to his home or a requirement that he report to a police station twice a week in the written court order he signed.

This means those provisions, which the magistrate only mentioned verbally in court, should be ignored, Bam said.

The new order represents a victory for the athlete's legal team, which went to court to request more lenient terms for his bail.

Not everyone surprised about Pistorius' fall from grace

The lifting of the travel ban could mean that the Olympic and Paralympic sprinter would return to international competition ahead of his trial.

If Pistorius qualifies for the Moscow World Championships in August, "then on the basis of the 'innocent until proven guilty' principle, he would be free to run," Yannis Nikolaou, communications manager for the International Association of Athletics Federations, told CNN via e-mail.

Invitations are at the discretion of meeting organizers, not the IAAF, he said. The IAAF will not comment on the case against Pistorius, he added.

Premeditated murder charge

The athlete's lawyers argued in their appeal filing that since Pistorius was not considered a flight risk, the restrictions on his travel were unnecessary.

They also argued that since alcohol and substance abuse were not factors in the case, the ban on their use was not warranted. Pistorius had no desire to use alcohol or illegal drugs, they added.

Authorities charged Pistorius with premeditated murder after he shot Steenkamp in the bathroom of his Pretoria home on February 14.

Pistorius, who spent eight days in jail before being freed on bail on February 22, did not attend Thursday's hearing.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court Thursday that he plans to serve Pistorius with an indictment on June 4.

No trial date has yet been set.

Pistorius, known as the "Blade Runner" for competing on carbon fiber blades fitted to the stumps of his amputated legs, says he thought Steenkamp was an intruder.

Prosecutors argue that he intentionally killed her after a loud argument.

READ MORE: Pistorius case brings South Africa gun culture to global spotlight

READ MORE: Not everyone surprised at Oscar Pistorius' fall from grace

CNN's Nkepile Mabuse reported from Pretoria and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London. Harry Reekie contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Oscar Pistorius
updated 5:17 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A stuffy, overcrowded cell. Perhaps two or three men to a single bunk. Lockdown for most of the day.
updated 5:39 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
He was the so-called "Fastest Man on No Legs," and his inspiring story captured the imagination of the world at the London Olympics.
updated 12:23 AM EDT, Sat September 13, 2014
The striking, platinum-haired model was gearing up for her reality television debut.
updated 10:16 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Her name is Thokozile Matilda Masipa, and she is the woman who decided the fate of athlete Oscar Pistorius.
updated 1:45 PM EDT, Mon June 3, 2013
Reeva Steenkamp on the beach in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Previously unseen photographs of Reeva Steenkamp show the South African beauty just months before her tragic death.
updated 12:08 PM EST, Sun February 16, 2014
The photos of Oscar Pistorius and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp appear to show a young couple in love.
updated 11:07 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
A week before her death, South African model Reeva Steenkamp talked about her secure, blissful environment.
updated 4:13 AM EST, Mon March 3, 2014
He was the first amputee to compete at an able-bodied Olympics. Now, he's being accused of murdering his girlfriend.
updated 4:31 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Judge Masipa has Oscar Pistorius stand up as she reads her verdicts.
updated 11:18 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
CNN's Robyn Curnow looks back at some of the key moments in the trial.
updated 5:07 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
CNN's Robyn Curnow reflects on her visit to athlete Oscar Pistorius' home, before he was on trial for murder.
updated 3:44 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
Take a virtual tour of the athlete's apartment to see what happened.
updated 5:26 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel is known as the "bull dog" in South Africa's legal circles, and it's easy to see why.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
As the athlete is grilled in court, Becky Anderson asks psychologist Dr. James Thompson about his state of mind.
ADVERTISEMENT