Pistorius footage 'obtained illegally'
Oscar Pistorius' lawyers condemn the airing of a video showing the athlete re-enacting events that led up to the fatal shooting of Reeva Steenkamp.PT0M40S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3bhkb 620 349 July 7, 2014
Footage aired of Oscar Pistorius re-enacting the night he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was "obtained illegally", lawyers for the athlete say.
The video, aired on Channel Seven’s Sunday Night program, shows the South African Olympian walking without his prosthetic legs and his arm held out before him with his fist clenched as if holding a gun.
Re-enactment: Oscar Pistorius details the night that he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Photo: Sunday Night/Channel Seven
He also demonstrated how he dragged the body of Reeva Steenkamp, played by his sister Aimee, from the bathroom and carried her downstairs.
With Pistorius' murder trial still under way in South Africa, the family lawyers of the accused athlete said the "visual mapping" re-enactment was for trial preparation only and they alleged it had been "obtained illegally".
"For the family, the airing of this footage constitutes a staggering breach of trust and an invasion of the family's privacy," lawyer Brian Webber said in a statement. No permission for the disclosure of the material had been given, he said.
Oscar Pistorius is greeted by his sister Aimee Pistorius in court in Pretoria on July 2. The re-enactment footage of the night Pistorius shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp uses his sister in Steenkamp's place. Photo: Werner Beukes
Mr Webber said they had not yet seen the footage and could not comment on whether it was a true reflection of the athlete's account, London's Telegraph reported.
The lawyer claimed that Channel Seven, which aired the video in Australia only, had paid for the footage "unlawfully" but had given "an undertaking" that it would not air any of the material before the end of the trial, the newspaper reported.
The Seven Network has defended airing the footage.
Oscar Pistorius cuts a lonely figure in court. Photo: Jerome Delay
Pistorius' lawyers alleged the usage of the video - filmed by a US company specialising in forensic animation, The Evidence Room, which had been engaged by Pistorius' defence team - also breached a non-disclosure agreement made with the company. The Evidence Room did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
One legal expert in Johannesburg, Professor Stephen Tuson of the University of the Witwatersrand School of Law, said the screening of the footage could be a breach of sub-judice laws that prohibit the publication outside the courtroom of evidence or material that could influence the outcome of the trial.
"If this was done in preparation for the trial in the context of attorney-client confidentiality, it would be privileged and its publication would be a breach of the sub-judice rule," he said. "Its consequences could be a reviewable irregularity."
Oscar Pistorius' family in court during his murder trial at the High Court in Pretoria. Photo: Herman Verwey
At his murder trial, which opened in early March, Pistorius has said in his defence that he mistook Ms Steenkamp for an intruder in the toilet of his Pretoria home and killed her accidentally.
In the video, Pistorius also re-enacted how he screamed in distress that night.
“Reeva, call the police,” he yelled. “Get out of my f---king house.”
Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg. Photo: AP
At another point he was recorded shrieking “please help, please help me”.
Channel Seven said the re-enactment footage was shot at Pistorius' uncle's house, "some months" after the shooting.
The court heard last week that the athlete was not suffering from a mental condition when he shot Ms Steenkamp, meaning he was able to distinguish the wrongfulness of his actions. The court also heard that Pistorius was suffering from post-traumatic stress and was a "suicide risk".
Oscar Pistorius demonstrates how he dragged Reeva Steenkamp's body out from the bathroom. Photo: Sunday Night/Channel Seven
Pistorius' trial is due to resume on Monday.
Reuters, with Amy McNeilage