Oscar Pistorius is free to spend Christmas at home with his family despite being convicted last week of murdering his girlfriend.

Yesterday he was granted bail of just NZ$1033 as he launched an appeal against the decision to upgrade his manslaughter conviction for the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp.

Smiling as he left court, the former Olympian could be free for a year as he waits to hear if his appeal succeeds. Even if it is rejected, he will stay free for months until sentencing takes place. Despite the pleas of prosecutor Gerrie Nel, Pistorius, 29, was granted permission to leave his uncle's luxury home in Pretoria, where he has been under house arrest.

He has been fitted with an electronic tag on his wrist and can leave the house between 7am and midday, travelling no more than a 12-mile radius.


Mr Nel, who had reduced the Paralympian to tears during days of cross-examination at his trial, had agreed to Pistorius' bail before yesterday's appearance. But he argued fiercely against any freedom of movement from the family mansion.

"We feel strongly about the fact that he needs monitoring, and should not leave the house at any time," he said.

Pistorius shared jokes with his legal team and looked relaxed in the dock at Pretoria's High Court where he had stood trial.

It was first time he has appeared in public since being sentenced to five years in prison in 2014 for the manslaughter of Miss Steenkamp.

He shot the model at their home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day 2013 and was freed from jail in October this year after serving 12 months.

In an affidavit submitted yesterday, Pistorius revealed he is studying law by correspondence as part of a business degree with a London university.

- Daily Mail