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Judge: 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius can leave South Africa while on bail in murder case

AP, file

Olympian Oscar Pistorius stands following his bail hearing in Pretoria, South Africa, on Feb. 19.

PRETORIA, South Africa -- A South African court eased bail restrictions on Olympian Oscar Pistorius, who is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, with the judge saying he should be allowed to travel abroad.

"I find no reason why Pistorius should be forbidden from leaving (South Africa) if he's invited to compete in athletic events in other countries," Judge Bert Bam told the court on Thursday. 

Pistorius, a double-amputee who is also a Paralympic star, and must provide authorities with an itinerary before he leaves the country, Bam said. He must also return his passport to the court within 24 hours of returning to South Africa, The Associated Press reported.

Pistorius' lawyers said the athlete had no immediate plans to travel or compete abroad, but may need to in order to make money.

Olympian Oscar Pistorius has not been seen since he left a South Africa courtroom in February, holed up in his uncle's mansion. His defense is now asking the judge to allow him to travel outside the country. NBC's Michelle Kosinski reports.

His legal team had objected to him not being allowed to travel outside of South Africa even though a magistrate said he was not a flight risk when granting him 1 million rand ($108,000) bail.

The court also reversed the ban on Pistorius visiting the gated housing estate where he shot Steenkamp dead early on Valentine's Day.

The sprinter denies murdering Steenkamp and says he shot her by mistake, fearing an intruder was in his home. Prosecutors say he killed her intentionally following an argument.

There was no sign of Pistorius or his family in Pretoria High Court on Thursday. Pistorius was not obliged to appear. 

On Wednesday, the sprinter's brother also appeared in court on trial for the death of a woman in a road collision in 2008.

Carl Pistorius arrived Wednesday at the Vanderbijlpark Magistrate's Court in Johannesburg to face a charge of culpable homicide, or unlawful, negligent killing.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

As Olympian Oscar Pistorius remains at his uncle's home since being released on bail last week, his brother Carl prepares for his own trial next month, after being charged with "culpable homicide" for a car accident six years ago. NBC's Michelle Kosinski reports.


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