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Judge allows Oscar Pistorius to travel abroad to compete

Oscar Pistorius in a Pretoria court for a bail hearing on a premeditated murder charge in the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, Feb. 20, 2013. REX FEATURES

Oscar Pistorius, charged with murdering his girlfriend, was granted permission to travel abroad to compete by a South African judge on Thursday.

At a hearing in Pretoria, judge Bert Bam ruled that Pistorius would receive his passport back.

The 26-year-old Olympic and Paralympic track star, a double amputee since infancy, also no longer needs to report to a probation officer.

Charged with the Valentine’s Day murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, the 26-year-old was initially released on very strict bail conditions.

But his defence team said he should be allowed to travel if he won consent from the detective working on the case.

They also argued that mandatory alcohol and drug tests were unnecessary and there was no need for him to report to a police station twice a week or be visited by a probation officer.

On Thursday, prosecutors said that despite the easing of his bail conditions, they felt confident Pistorius would return to court when required to do so.

“What I believe in is that what has been promised by the legal representatives of Oscar, it will be abided upon and definitely, it will come to a point every time where he is needed, he will be present in court,” said Medupe Simasiku of the National Prosecuting Authority.

Prosecutors said Pistorius committed premeditated murder when he fired four shots into a locked toilet door, hitting Steenkamp as she cowered on the other side. She suffered gunshot wounds to her head, hip and arm.

Pistorius has said the killing was a tragic mistake and that he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder and opened fire in a blind panic.

The world’s best known Paralympic athlete, Pistorius ran against able-bodied competitors in the London Olympics last year, raising his global profile after a battle to be allowed to compete.