Channel Seven defends Pistorius show
Sunday Night executive producer Mark Llewellyn has denied footage of Oscar Pistorius re-enacting the night he killed his girlfriend was obtained illegally.PT1M9S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3bit1 620 349 July 7, 2014
The Seven Network has defended airing footage showing Oscar Pistorius re-enacting the events of the night he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The network has been attacked by lawyers for the Olympian, who say the video aired on Seven's Sunday Night program was obtained unlawfully and describing the decision to show it as a staggering breach of trust.
But in a statement issued on Monday, Sunday Night executive producer Mark Llewellyn said the video would not have been shown if the channel had thought it was obtained unlawfully.
The bizarre footage of Oscar Pistorius aired by Sunday Night has caused controversy worldwide. Photo: Sunday Night/Channel Seven
"The material shown on Sunday Night goes to the heart of both the prosecution and defence cases, including the account provided by Oscar Pistorius," Llewellyn said.
"We would not have run the footage if we thought we had obtained it illegally. The story was run in Australia only and not made available to any other territory."
In the footage the double-amputee is seen crossing a room on his bare stumps, wearing a tank top and tight black shorts, his hand clenched in the air as if ready to fire a gun.
Pistorius' trial is due to resume today in South Afrida. Photo: Reuters
The 27-year-old is seen screaming and crying for help, and carrying his younger sister Aimee down a flight of stairs, as he acts out his account of the minutes after he shot Steenkamp.
The video was made by the Evidence Room, a US company based in Cleveland, Ohio, that specialises in forensic animation.
The Evidence Room was hired by the defence team in October 2013 to digitally depict the sequence of events early on Valentine's Day last year, when Pistorius shot his girlfriend four times through a locked toilet door.
The animation firm used the footage of Pistorius moving on his stumps in order to recreate the crime scene in an animated format.
Brian Webber, a lawyer representing Pistorius, said in a statement the video was "obtained illegally and in breach of the non-disclosure agreement with The Evidence Room".
"Channel Seven purchased this footage unlawfully," said Mr Webber, adding that the broadcaster had agreed not to air the material until 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."
Channel Seven, which did not say how it obtained the film, invited viewers to "vote" on the murder case in light of the new footage.
Stephen Tuson, an associate law professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, said the origin of the footage was important.
"If it was produced by the defence as part of their investigation and preparation for the trial, it's strictly privileged, it's confidential and it can not be used," he said.
"Whatever you tell your attorney is strictly confidential and privileged; if there's a breach of that, there can be a mistrial."
Pistorius, known as the "Blade Runner" for his prosthetic limbs, has been charged with murdering Ms Steenkamp after a row early on the morning of February 14, 2013.
The sprinter claims he mistakenly shot the 29-year-old model and law graduate through a locked door, believing she was an intruder in his upmarket Pretoria home.