Steenkamps surprised by payments disclosure


Reeva Steenkamp's parents and their lawyer on Wednesday said they were surprised that a confidential agreement was disclosed in the High Court in Pretoria during paralympian Oscar Pistorius's 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 in a statement.

"The fact that the matter had been kept confidential at the request of Mr Pistorius's 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's home in February last year.

"This was mentioned to Mr Pistorius's lawyers during discussions in regard to a possible civil claim by the parents," he said.

"We were contacted soon afterwards by Mr Pistorius's lawyers with an offer that Mr Pistorius would contribute an amount of R6000 per 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 can 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's side. He was responding to our request as to whether the civil claim could not be settled," he said.

On Tuesday, Pistorius family spokeswoman 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 on Tuesday that June Steenkamp rejected a R375,000 payment from the paralympian as "blood money", in a submission by prosecutor advocate Gerrie Nel.

On September 12, Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide for the shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse.

The court found him not guilty of murdering Steenkamp.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp through the locked door of the toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder about to emerge and attack him. She was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Pistorius was also found guilty of firing a pistol under a table at Tasha's restaurant in Johannesburg in January 2013 and not guilty of shooting through the open sunroof of a car in Modderfontein on September 30, 2012.


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