Oscar trial to be broadcast live, court rules

2014-02-25 13:05

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In what has been described as a "groundbreaking judgment", the North Gauteng High Court has allowed all audio evidence of the Oscar Pistorius trial to be broadcast live.

The court has also allowed the live television broadcast of opening and closing arguments, the judgment and the evidence of consenting state witnesses.

This means that audio and visual recordings of the trial will for the largest part be broadcast live.

Witnesses for the defence, including Pistorius himself, will be able to object to their testimony being broadcast.

Gauteng High Court Judge President Dunstan Mlambo today handed down the judgment in Pretoria.

Mlambo said he had taken judicial notice of perceptions that the "justice system treats the rich and famous with kid gloves".

"(This order) will go a long way in dispelling these negative and unfounded perceptions."

Mlambo said that reporting on the trial, which was not live, would necessarily be a secondhand account.

He also said the live broadcast will play a role in educating the public about criminal proceedings.

Dario Milo, a lawyer representing media houses and an expert on media law, said this was the "first decision here the court has allowed full audio of evidence of witnesses in a criminal trial and some television subject to certain safeguards and requirements.

"(This decision) is an important pillar in our jurisprudence on open justice and how it's developing".

Some of the restrictions on broadcasting will include that the cameras must be remote controlled, that they do not do extreme close-ups and that they do not film or record any confidential discussions or information.

The trial is set to begin on Monday.

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