29 Mar 2013

Judge rules Pistorius allowed to travel

7:26 pm on 29 March 2013

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius could compete at this year's World Championships in Moscow after his bail conditions were revised.

The 26-year-old athlete is charged with murdering his girlfriend but will be allowed to travel abroad after a judge ruled he could leave South Africa to compete, as long as he complies with certain conditions.

His agent Peet van Zyl says the world champs in August will be on his client's radar if he qualifies, AFP reports.

The body that runs the tournament says the Olympic and Paralympic star would be free to run in Moscow on the basis of the "innocent until proven guilty"' principle.

Mr Pistorius will also be allowed to return to his home in Pretoria, where Reeva Steenkamp was shot and killed on 14 February, reports the BBC. He denies murdering the 29-year-old model, saying he mistook her for an intruder.

In the hearing at Pretoria's High Court on Thursday, Mr Pistorius also sought an end to supervision by a probation officer and compulsory drug and alcohol testing.

The state opposed the application. The 26-year-old was not in court for the hearing.

The bail conditions were imposed by Magistrate Desmond Nair on 22 February - including the travel restrictions.

Mr Pistorius was originally ordered to hand over his two South African passports, avoid his home in Pretoria and all witnesses in the case, report to a police station twice a week and to abstain from drinking alcohol.

But they were relaxed but Judge Bert Bam, who described the decision not to grant Mr Pistorius permission to travel as "wrong".

Defence lawyer Barry Roux told the court the bail conditions amounted to "house arrest".

"Why would this athlete go to a country without extradition and go and hide. It is not as if the appellant is travelling for holiday in Mauritius; it's only to gain an income, there's no other reason."

Oscar Pistorius, known as the 'blade runner' because of his prosthetic legs, had not yet resumed training and has no current plans to compete internationally, according to reports.