Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg. Click for more photos

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg. Photo: AP

  • Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg.
  • A forensics van leaves the housing estate where Olympian Oscar Pistorius lives, in Pretoria, South Africa on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013.
  • Oscar Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria, South Africa en route to appear in court charged with the murder of his girlfriend.
  • Oscar Pistorius arrives on the track before his men's 200m T44 classification heat at the London Paralympic Games on September 1, 2012.
  • Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station en route to appear in court charged with murder.
  • South Africa's Oscar Pistorius starts his men's 400m round 1 heats at the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 4, 2012.
  • Oscar Pistorius, holds his scroll after receiving his honorary doctorate from Strathclyde University in the Barony Hall on November 12, 2012.
  • Reeva Steenkamp attends the Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards 2013 held at Emperors Palace on February 07, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa..
  • Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius of South Africa smiles during a press conference ahead of the London 2012 Paralympic Games on August 28, 2012.
  • Oscar Pistorius talks with journalists after finishing second in the men's 200 metres T44 final athletics event at the London 2012 Paralympic Games .
  • Oscar Pistorius looks on prior to the Men's 400m T44 Final on day 10 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games on September 8, 2012.
  • Oscar Pistorius with his gold medal during the ceremony after winning the men's 400 meters T44 category final at the 2012 Paralympics.
  • A police vehicle enters the housing estate where Olympian Oscar Pistorius lives, in Pretoria, South Africa, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013.

Oscar Pistorius, the Olympian accused of murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has been granted bail by Magistrate Desmond Nair at the fourth day of a hearing in Pretoria Magistrates Court.

Magistrate Nair ruled Pistorius was not a flight risk and does not pose a danger to society following an emotionally charged hearing.

‘‘I come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail,’’ Nair said to cries of ‘‘yes!’’ from Pistorius’s family and supporters.

Oscar Pistorius in court on Friday.

Oscar Pistorius in court on Friday. Photo: Reuters

‘‘The issue is not guilt, but where the interests of justice lie,’’ Nair said.

As the lengthy ruling was read the 26-year-old stood in the dock weeping and quivering.

The athlete was escorted to the holding area sobbing uncontrollably.

He is expected to be released later on Friday.

His arrest on February 14 shocked the world and gripped South Africa, where he is still considered a national hero after becoming the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics.

Pistorius has since spent more than a week at a Pretoria police station charged with the premeditated Valentine’s Day killing of Steenkamp, a model and law graduate.

If found guilty he faces a possible life sentence.

He denies the charge, saying that he shot 29-year-old Steenkamp repeatedly through a locked bathroom door in the dead of night by accident, having mistaken her for a burglar.

Steenkamp was found by medics in the early hours of Thursday last week at Pistorius’s luxury Pretoria home covered in bloodied towels, with bullet wounds to her head, elbow and hip.

She was pronounced dead on the scene.

His family were overjoyed at the magistrate’s ruling, which his lawyer praised.

‘‘I think it’s a fair decision to grant bail,’’ said Barry Roux.

Experts said the case would now be fast-tracked through the courts.

‘‘This is probably going to get priority and will probably take about six months to go to trial,’’ said Stephen Tuson, a criminal law professor at the University of Witwatersrand.

‘‘It’s a high profile matter.’’

It was not immediately clear where Pistorius would go, but he will not return to the Pretoria estate where Steenkamp was killed.

‘‘He doesn’t want to go back to the house,’’ said Roux. AFP

More to come ...