Sprinter likely to remain silent
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/01/2013 -- The once-heralded Olympic sprinter, Oscar Pistorius, has been charged with “premeditated murder” under the Schedule 6 of South Africa's Criminal Procedure Act. Due to this charge, the onus is now upon him to convince the magistrate to release him on bail, as it is not an afforded right, as it is within the United States.
It is now up to Pistorius to show the exceptional circumstances that justify his release while he awaits a murder trial. The proceedings are now underway, and Petoria Central Court are not a trial. The question of guilt is not going to be handled, but rather, the decision on whether or not to grant Pistorius bail will be under question.
A trial will only be taking place months later, at the High Court, as the South African system has no jury placement within it. When the trial is set, the judge will preside over the hearing, and will sit amongst two legally qualified assessors.
Within South Africa's system, the two assessors are often two former magistrates, and together they will decide on whether to convict Pistorius. If they do in fact decide upon that fate, they must also consider the appropriate sentencing to follow.
Under the constitution of South Africa, Pistorius has the right to remain silent throughout his bail hearing, and will not be required to outline his entire case. If he chooses to talk, Pistorius' comments and statements will be held as evidence when the trial begins. Thus, Pistorius will be cautions with what he does say, if it is anything at all, and will likely only point to why he ought receive bail.
There is precedent of those charged with murder charges being granted bail, but they are often held with tight restrictions if they do gain bail. If Pistorius is released from custody, the bail demanded would be considerable, and he would be forced to surrender both his passport and report on regular occasion to authorities.
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