Lawyer: Oscar video unlawful, breaches agreement

2014-07-06 17:38
Oscar Pistorius looks on during his murder trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. (Daniel Born, AFP)

Oscar Pistorius looks on during his murder trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. (Daniel Born, AFP)

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Johannesburg - A video of murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius re-enacting the night he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was intended for trial purposes and its broadcast breached an agreement, his lawyer said on Sunday.

"We wish to make it very clear that the material that has been aired was obtained illegally and in breach of the non-disclosure agreement with The Evidence Room," Brian Webber said in a statement.

"Its usage also constitutes a breach of privilege as this material was produced for trial purposes on the instructions of a commissioner, and the ownership of the copyright vests in the commissioner. No permission for the disclosure thereof has been given."

Webber explained that in October last year, the defence team engaged the services of The Evidence Room, a United States-based company specialising in forensic animation.

"The company was engaged to visually map the events on the night of the accident. As part of this process, certain video footage was filmed.

"The visual mapping was for trial preparation only and was not intended to be used for any other purpose."

The promotional video by Australia's Channel 7 programme Sunday Night shows Pistorius walking on his stumps with an imaginary gun in his hand. In another scene, Pistorius is seen carrying a woman, reportedly his sister, out of a bathroom.

The website for the show said the video was "never before seen footage of Oscar Pistorius re-enacting the night he killed Reeva that convinced a top forensic expert he is innocent".

The video aired in Australia on Sunday.

Webber said Channel 7 had purchased the footage unlawfully.

"In addition, during our engagement with Channel 7, we received an undertaking that they would not air any of the material before the end of the trial.

"Whilst we cannot imagine how any of the footage would not support Oscar’s version, we will only be in a position to comment further once we have had the opportunity to study what has been aired."

Webber noted that the broadcast constituted a "staggering breach of trust" and an invasion of the family’s privacy.

Pistorius faces a charge of murder. He claims he shot Steenkamp by accident through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home on 14 February 2013, thinking she was an intruder. The State argues he killed her during an argument.

Pistorius testified that he was on his stumps when he shot though the toilet door. However, he said he put on his prostheses before breaking down the door to get to Steenkamp.

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