Oscar Pistorius Bail Hearing Today
Update: New thread with reports from hearing here.)
Murder can be a class 5 or 6 offense. Premeditated Murder is a Class 6 offense.
Where an accused is been charged with an "extremely serious" schedule six offence, he may be released only if he produces evidence to satisfy the court that exceptional circumstances exist which, in the interests of justice, permit his release
His lawyers will argue he should be charged with the class 5 murder offense, which would make bail easier to obtain. [More....]
Where an accused is charged with a "serious" or schedule five offence, he may be released only if he produces evidence to satisfy the court that the interests of justice permit his release.
One thing that will make bail tougher to get: If the court believes he's a suicide risk. South Africa considers both risk of the flight and risk of dangerousness to the community and individuals.
As to future proceedings, South Africa does not provide for a jury trial:
South Africa’s court system is rooted in Roman-Dutch law; a single judge hears the case and makes the ruling. Sometimes the judge has advisers, who often help review evidence, but there is no jury.
The penalty for premeditated murder is life in prison but there is parole. There is no death penalty in South Africa.
Already, the media reports divergent accounts of basic facts: This account has one shot fired in the bedroom, hitting her in the hip, and the remaining three in the bathroom. Another has all four shots being fired through the bathroom door. I'm discounting all of them until the prosecution lays out its theory at the bail hearing.
About the gun that went off in a restaurant last month, his friend Kevin Lerena says:
"I must emphasise that the gun belonged to one of Pistorius' friends - I'm not going to mention his name. Oscar just wanted to look at the gun, and it sort of snagged on his pants, releasing the safety catch.
"A shot went off. I wouldn't call him negligent, it was just an accident. He apologised to me for days afterwards," Lerena said.
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