Pistorius back in court for bail hearing on Tuesday

Former South African track star Oscar Pistorius will be in court on Tuesday, Dec 8, 2015, for a bail hearing.
Former South African track star Oscar Pistorius will be in court on Tuesday, Dec 8, 2015, for a bail hearing. PHOTO: REUTERS

PRETORIA (AFP) - Oscar Pistorius is set to appear in court on Tuesday (Dec 8) for a bail hearing that could send him back to jail after he was convicted of murder on appeal for shooting dead his girlfriend, South African officials said.

The Supreme Court of Appeal last week threw out his earlier conviction on the lesser charge of culpable homicide for killing Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day, 2013.

Pistorius, 29, is under house arrest in Pretoria after serving one year of his five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide - the equivalent of manslaughter.

"It's a bail application. His (earlier) conviction has been overturned, so his sentence from before has been scrapped," Lusanda Ntuli, spokeswoman for the justice ministry, told AFP on Monday (Dec 7).

"The defence and prosecution will present their arguments."

The double-amputee athlete known as the "Blade Runner" now faces a minimum 15-year jail sentence for murder, although the term could be shorter if he is released on parole.

No date has yet been announced for his sentencing.

"If he is given bail, it may come with different conditions perhaps not as stringent as house arrest," criminal lawyer Martin Hood told AFP.

Pistorius killed Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, at his home in Pretoria two years ago, saying he mistook her for an intruder when he shot four times through the locked door of his bedroom toilet.

The appeal court ruling changed his conviction to murder and sent the case for re-sentencing, saying the original trial judge had made "fundamental" errors in her ruling.