Thursday 25 December 2014

Australian TV channel defends broadcasting 'legally obtained' dramatic re-enactment of Pistorius shooting

Published 07/07/2014 | 10:58

The Australian TV station who showed leaked footage of Oscar Pistorious re-enacting the fatal shooting of his girlfriend have defended their decision to air the video.

Channel Seven said the video was obtained legally and only broadcast in Australia.

The current affairs programme, ‘Sunday Night’, defended their decision to air it and said it had undertaken a ‘significant investigation’ into the trial.

"We would not have run the footage if we thought we had obtained it illegally," the progamme’s executive producer, Mark Llewellyn, said in a statement.

"The material shown on Sunday Night goes to the heart of both the prosecution and defence cases, including the account provided by Oscar Pistorius. The story was run in Australia only and not made available to any other territory."

The dramatic footage showed the South African Olympian stumbling awkwardly without his prosthetic legs and holding his arm out in front of him as if he were carrying a gun.

Reeva Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in Johannesburg in February 2013
Reeva Steenkamp: Pistorius' former girlfriend

The video has sparked discussion that Pistorius may be able to move more without his prosthetic legs than his defence team have claimed in court.

Pistorius's girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was played by his sister Aimee for the re-enactment.

"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 [a US company that puts together re-enactments of crimes]," Pistorius’s lawyer has said in a statement.

"For the family, the airing of this footage constitutes a staggering breach of trust and an invasion of the family's privacy."

Meanwhile, the chief prosecutor in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius has challenged the credibility of a doctor who testified that the athlete has an anxious nature linked to his disability.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court in Pretoria that defence witness, physician Wayne Derman, could not be objective about the double-amputee runner because he had treated Pistorius over many years and travelled with him extensively.

Mr Derman disputed Mr Nel's assertion.

The defence says Pistorius has a deep sense of vulnerability because of his disability and a fear of crime, and it was a factor in what he has described as the mistaken shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius says he killed Ms Steenkamp after thinking there was a dangerous intruder in his home. The prosecution says he shot her after an argument.

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