Steenkamps ‘surprised’ that Oscar payments were made public

2014-10-15 10:51

Reeva Steenkamp’s parents and their lawyer said they were surprised that a confidential agreement was disclosed in the North Gauteng High Court during Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’ sentencing.

“We were ... quite surprised yesterday when this fact was disclosed in court without any prior warning to us,” PJ de Bruyn SC, for the Steenkamps, said today.

“The fact that the matter had been kept confidential at the request of Mr Pistorius’ legal advisers, has also not been placed on record.”

De Bruyn said Steenkamps parents, June and Barry Steenkamp, were in financial difficulties after their daughter was shot dead at Pistorius’ home in February last year.

“This was mentioned to Mr Pistorius’ lawyers during discussions in regard to a possible civil claim by the parents,” he said.

“We were contacted soon afterwards by Mr Pistorius’ lawyers with an offer that Mr Pistorius would contribute an amount of R6 000 a month towards the parents’ rental and living expenses.”

De Bruyn said payments took place from March last year until September this year.

“When the offer was made during March 2013 we, on behalf of the parents, thought that it would only be fair to Mr Pistorius that the public should know this.

“The request of Mr Pistorius, conveyed through his lawyers, however was that the matter be kept confidential. We have honoured this request.”

De Bruyn said the Steenkamps intended to repay the amount to Pistorius as soon as arrangements could be made.

De Bruyn went on to explain that the Steenkamps were “emotionally suffering quite badly” and that an early settlement was considered to be appropriate in order for them to get “some closure” and to avoid a lengthy civil case.

“It was for this reason that we approached Mr Pistorius’s legal advisers with a request as to whether the matter could not be settled,” he said.

“At that stage the parents were not aware of our approaches and discussions between the legal teams were confidential. The offer of settlement was then made by Mr Pistorius.”

De Bruyn said when the Steenkamps were made aware of the offer, they considered it carefully but decided for various reasons that they did not want any payment from Pistorius.

“We place this on record to make it clear that a request for an offer emanated from our side, and not from Mr Pistorius’ side. He was responding to our request as to whether the civil claim could not be settled,” he said.

Yesterday, Pistorius family spokesperson Anneliese Burgess said the state’s version on payments made by Pistorius to the Steenkamps was not accurate.

“The defence team will give a statement to the court tomorrow regarding the accurate position.”

Burgess did not provide more details.

The court heard yesterday that June Steenkamp rejected a R375 000 payment from the Paralympian as “blood money”, in a submission by prosecutor advocate Gerrie Nel.

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