Media scramble at Pistorius case

2013-02-20 09:19
Members of the media at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.  (@JacqueSteenkamp, Twitter)

Members of the media at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court. (@JacqueSteenkamp, Twitter)

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Oscar Pistorius arrives at court

2013-02-20 09:13

Watch paralympian Oscar Pistorius arrive at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court for the second day of his bail hearing on Wednesday.WATCH

Pretoria - The media scrambled for a place at a packed Pretoria Magistrate's Court for the bail hearing of Oscar Pistorius on Wednesday morning, with a reporter fainting and an overflow room being set up.

A crowd of over 100 journalists, many flown in from around the world to cover the Olympic athlete's murder case, pushed to get through the security check.

Pistorius has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day.

He has not pleaded but in an affidavit he denied he murdered her, saying that when he shot her dead in a bathroom he thought he was shooting at an intruder.

Seven outside broadcast vans were parked on Bosman street, next to the court. Several video cameras on tripods were placed near the entrance.

Pistorius was brought to court at 06:45 by two police cars. He was sitting in the back seat of a police sedan. Photographers were already in place to capture images of his head covered with a blue towel.

Limited space

An advisory issued by the court on Monday said that due to limited space inside the court, only 26 media workers would be accommodated.

Ten reporters, two sketch artists, eight photographers, three television cameramen and three radio journalists would be allowed in.

The media was advised to be present for accreditation at 08:00.

Previous arrangements had been made to share material, and this agreement needed to be honoured, the advisory said.

However, by Tuesday morning, ahead of Pistorius's appearance, the accredited media list appeared to have been abandoned and journalists were left pleading at the court room entrance with officials to be allowed the seat they had already secured.

On Wednesday, reporters on the scene said: "It's really chaotic. The queue has failed."

A reporter collapsed in the heat as bodies were pressed together trying to pass through the check point.

On Tuesday security officials shouted at the crowd to bring order and tried to separate men and women into separate lines for the security checks.

However, when they opened, the queue disintegrated and once through the scanners people sprinted to the court.

Overflow

On Wednesday, another room was being set up to accommodate the overflow of reporters for a live stream.

The shooting last Thursday of model and law graduate Steenkamp has featured prominently in local and international traditional and new media.

Magistrate Desmond Nair has repeatedly warned media to abide by his order that there will be no live recording of the proceedings and that photographs and recording are only permitted when the court is not in session.

He has repeated this during moments when Pistorius has been particularly emotional.

- See News24's Pistorius Special Report.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.

- SAPA
Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  media
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