Oscar Pistorius: Judge Grants Bail

Oscar Pistorius in Court 2/19 - H 2013
AFP/Getty Images

Oscar Pistorius in Court 2/19 - H 2013

The South African runner, who's charged with killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, gets released from jail ahead of a trial.

Oscar Pistorius, the South African track star charged with the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, was granted bail on Friday.

The judge in the case said he made the decision to allow for the release of the 26-year-old runner -- a Paralympic gold medalist and the first-ever double amputee to compete in the Olympic games -- because of missteps surrounding the police investigation into Steenkamp's death, CNN reports.

"I come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail," declared Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair during day four of a week-long bail hearing in Pretoria, South Africa.

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Nair singled out Hilton Botha, the ex-lead detective replaced Thursday after his own attempted murder charges came to light; Botha, along with two other officers, allegedly fired a gun at a minibus carrying seven passengers in 2011. During defense cross-examination this week, Botha admitted that he found no evidence to contradict Pistorius' claims that he killed Steenkamp by mistake. Botha "made several errors and concessions," on the stand this week, Nair said.

Pistorius faces a charge of "premeditated murder" for the Valentine's Day shooting of Steenkamp, 29, a model and law school grad whom he dated for several months. The athlete alleges that he thought she was an intruder, while the prosecution contends that he shot Steenkamp dead with intent following an argument, firing at her through the door of a small bathroom in which she'd locked herself.

No trial date has been set. If Pistorius is found guilty of premeditated murder, he looks at a life sentence in prison. The judge-focused South African legal system does not use juries and the country does not have the death penalty.