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Pistorius to challenge bail conditions

ESPN staff
March 8, 2013
Oscar Pistorius was recently granted bail in Pretoria © AP

Oscar Pistorius has instructed his lawyers to have his bail conditions altered, according to a report from Africa's eNCA news website.

Pistorius is currently on bail following the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot dead at his home. The Paralympian says he shot Steenkamp by accident, mistaking her for an intruder.

A lengthy bail hearing released the South African from police custody on February 22 but several terms were put in place, with Pistorius forced to hand over his passport, guns, and to report to a police station on a regular basis.

These conditions were agreed by Pistorius at the time of the hearing, but now his lawyers will head back to court in order to argue that the conditions are unwarranted. Papers were filed with the North Gauteng High Court on Friday.

Lawyers will argue Pistorius should not be under the supervision of a probation officer, nor should he have to report to a police station on a daily basis. They will also seek to overturn the condition for drug and alcohol testing.

"There is no desire by the appellant to use any prohibited substance or alcohol but the condition imposed is not warranted or substantiated by facts," the court application reportedly said.

Pistorius also wants to be able to return to his home, the crime scene, and be able to speak to neighbours. Both are banned under his bail conditions.

His lawyers will also contest the need to confiscate Pistorius' passport and ban him from airports. They will argue that Pistorius has already been cleared as a non-flight risk and therefore should be allowed to travel internationally.

Meanwhile Hilton Botha, the investigating officer removed from the case after an unconvincing court performance at the bail hearing, insists his hands were tied by a lack of resources and the fact the prosecution "couldn't show all the cards".

Botha was forced into several embarrassing climbdowns during the bail hearing, claiming testosterone and needles were found in Pistorius' home - later forced to admit he did not read the full label on the bottle. He also relied heavily on a witness' account that proved to have been made from around 600m away.

Botha announced on Thursday he is leaving the force, but remains convinced that had he had all the evidence at his disposal, he would have been able to deliver a more substantial version of events.

"Having a senior general on the case would have seen things being done and reports completed a lot sooner," Botha said. "I don't need this in my life. If I can get out of it I am going to.

"A bail application is like a poker game. You cannot show all your cards. At bail applications you do not have all the information such as forensics. I did not have all the information."

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