Oscar Pistorius is bailed ahead of murder sentencing

He will return to court on April 18th for an update

Newstalk, Oscar Pistorius, athlete, Olympian, Paralympian, court, appeal, supreme, Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius arrives at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa | Image: Themba Hadebe / AP/Press Association Images

Oscar Pistorius has been granted bail at the High Court in Pretoria, as he waits to be sentenced for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The athlete's initial conviction of culpable homicide (or manslaughter in other countries) was overturned last week by the Supreme Court of Appeal, after five judges unanimously ruled that Judge Thokozile Masipa had made a judgement which was "fundamentally flawed".

With the courts about to go into Christmas recess and no new sentencing date for his murder conviction set, there was confusion about what would happen to Pistorius in the meantime - and whether he would remain under house arrest at his uncle's home, in one of Pretoria's most exclusive neighbourhoods.

The runner was granted bail in March 2013, a month after he shot Reeva dead on Valentine's Day at their home, and in October this year, he was released from jail after serving 12 months of his five-year sentence behind bars.

This time, prosecutors emphasised that Pistorius may pose a higher flight risk because he now faces a further, lengthier spell in jail. But they have agreed that electronic monitoring would provide some security with regards to his whereabouts.

Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba said he did not find Pistorius to be a flight risk but one of the conditions of his bail is that he hand over any passports and will not be allowed to apply for any further passports or travel documents until the case has been dealt with.

It is understood Pistorius intends to go to the Constitutional Court as a final resort against his new murder conviction, the cost of which could run into millions of rand.

It has been agreed between both sides that he will return to court on April 18th for an update on what would be a lengthy appeal.

Earlier, his lawyer Barry Roux tried to reassure the court that Pistorius is not a flight risk.

The 29-year-old now faces a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Pistorius has always insisted he shot his girlfriend dead after mistaking her for an intruder, but the appeal panel said it was irrelevant who was behind his toilet door.

The judges said his experience with firearms meant he should have been aware that death was an inevitability after firing four times into such a confined area, which had left Reeva Steenkamp with "nowhere to hide".

Sentencing, when a date is decided upon, will be conducted by Judge Masipa - even though her original judgement was overturned on appeal.

She has been given this responsibility as she presided over the original trial and is familiar with the intricacies of the case, which went on for months.