February 22, 2013

Oscar Pistorius bail hearing nearing decision

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Photographers take photos of Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius as he stands in the dock during his bail hearing at the magistrates court in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Feb. 22, 2013. The fourth and likely final day of Oscar Pistorius' bail hearing opened on Friday, with the magistrate then to rule if the double-amputee athlete can be freed before trial or if he has to remain in custody over the shooting death of his girlfriend. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Defense lawyer Roux also stressed Pistorius' disability Friday and said it was one of the reasons why he couldn't easily flee the country.

"He cannot, cannot go unnoticed through airport security. When he goes through the security at the airport, there's every time a commotion because the system would react," Roux said. He added that Pistorius also needs medical treatment for his stumps and has to have his prostheses adjusted on a monthly basis.

In arguing against bail, Nel sought to portray Pistorius as a spoiled celebrity with an inflated sense of self who believed he was above the law. Nel also said selfishness could be driving expressions of remorse by suspects such as Pistorius.

"All that I feel sorry for is myself," Nel said of Pistorius. "I've shot her and my career is done."

Pistorius' longtime coach Ampie Louw had said before proceedings began that he is considering putting his runner back in training if he is granted bail to allow him to "get his mind kind of clear."

Louw said he realizes that the Olympic athlete might not be emotionally ready to give any thought to running.

"The change is that he is heartbroken, that is all," Louw said in the courtroom, surrounded by reporters and television cameras. "For me it is tough to see that. Not to be able to reach out and sit next to him and say 'Sorry, man, it was a terrible accident.' But I cannot do it, I must just sit here in court and that's all.

"The sooner he can start working the better," said Louw, who was the person who convinced the double amputee to take up track as a teenager a decade ago.

He has been held at a police station in Pretoria since last week, but suspects who are denied bail are typically held in a prison.

Roux argued on Thursday that the evidence backs Pistorius' statement that he shot through a toilet door at his home because he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder, killing her by accident.

"I think there will be a level of shock in this country if he is not released (on bail)," Roux said in court.

Opposing bail, Nel argued that Pistorius was too willing to shoot. The prosecution says Pistorius planned to kill his 29-year-old girlfriend, a model and budding reality TV star, after an argument in the early hours of Valentine's Day.

"The reason you fire four shots is to kill," Nel said.

Louw said he might put Pistorius — who overcame the amputation of his lower legs as a baby to compete at last year's London Olympics — back on a morning and afternoon training routine if he is freed, believing it might help him to be able to run track again.

"You must give him space," the coach said.

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