Oscar witnesses can object to recordings, judge rules

2014-02-25 20:02
Oscar Pistorius (Picture: AFP)

Oscar Pistorius (Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria –  Witnesses due to testify in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, have at least 24 hours before taking the stand to object to audio-visual recording of their evidence,a judge ruled on Tuesday.

Judge Dunstan Mlambo said during his ruling in the North Gauteng High Court: "Objections by witnesses to the audio-visual recording of their evidence shall be in writing and will be served on the director of public prosecutions and the accused's attorney."

He said: "They shall be delivered to the office of the deputy judge president at least 24 hours before the testimony of the said witness to avoid delaying the trial."

Mlambo said the witness's objections would be dealt with in court chambers by the judge president, but if unsolved, the presiding judge would make a final ruling after hearing the parties.

On Tuesday media houses got the nod for full audio and partial television broadcasts of the murder trial of the Paralympian.

The ruling was made on an application brought by news channel eNCA, joined by media houses MultiChoice and Eyewitness News (Primedia).

In his ruling, Mlambo said: "MultiChoice and Primedia are permitted to broadcast the audio recording of the entire trial in live transmissions, delayed broadcasts and or extracts of the proceedings."

Regarding television coverage, media houses could only broadcast opening arguments, any interlocutory applications during the trial, the evidence of all experts called to give evidence for the State, but excluding evidence of Pistorius and his witnesses.

Closing arguments of both the State and Pistorius, delivery of the judgment and the sentence, if applicable, could be also televised.

Hi-tech equipment

Mlambo ruled that hi-tech broadcast equipment could be installed in the courtroom where Pistorius would go on trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

"The technical equipment shall comply with the following specifications: three cameras shall be installed in the courtroom at least 72 hours before the trial commences. The cameras shall be installed in locations which are unobtrusive."

These cameras would be remotely controlled and no camera operator would be allowed in the courtroom.

"The equipment is not permitted to record any confidential communication between legal representatives, between clients and their representatives, or any bench discussions between the judge and assessors that may be appointed," Mlambo said.

"The presiding judge shall specifically direct when recording should start and when it should stop."

He ordered that no "movie lights, flash attachments, or artificial lighting devices" would be permitted in court.


Last week, MultiChoice and EWN proposed the use of unmanned, remote-controlled high-definition cameras which would provide feed to all broadcasters.

For print media houses, Mlambo allowed two still photography cameras to be set up at fixed locations in the courtroom.

"Each of the cameras shall be controlled by one of the applicants' representatives who will remain behind the cameras while court is in process. No changes of lenses or film shall be permitted while court is in session," said Mlambo.

He said if it became apparent to the presiding judge that the equipment was impeding Pistorius's right to a fair trial, she may order all recording and photography to cease.

Pistorius is accused of killing Steenkamp on 14 February last year. His trial is to be heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria from 3 to 20 March.

A 24-hour TV channel dedicated to the trial will begin broadcasting on DSTV on 2 March.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    primedia  |  multichoice  |  oscar pistorius  |  reeva steenkamp  |  media  |  pistorius trial

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

UK expert: Boks ‘have KO game’
Ireland hold on to down Italy
As it happened: Ireland 16-9 Italy
All Blacks sympathise with England
Traffic Alerts

It is time to focus on your daily rhythm. Are you putting too much attention on future projects and neglecting the day to day...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.