Australian network defends showing leaked Pistorius re-enactment that lawyer says was 'obtained illegally'
Athlete's legal team say the broadcasting of the footage breaches non-disclosure agreements and is an invasion of the family's privacy
Monday 07 July 2014
An Australian television channel has been criticised for broadcasting a leaked video of Oscar Pistorius re-enacting the scene in which his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot.
A lawyer for the Olympic athlete said the footage had been obtained “illegally,” which the network, Channel Seven, strongly denies.
The clip of the 27-year-old, which shows him going through the events that had unfolded, was aired last night as part of the channel’s documentary slot called Sunday Night. It was created by his defence team but has not been part of the trial.
Pistorius’ lawyer, Brian Webber, said in a statement that the video was created with the help of US-based firm The Evidence Room and that its releases breaches contractual agreements.
“The 'visual mapping' was for trial preparation only and was not intended to be used for any other purpose,” Mr Webber said.
“It has now emerged that an Australian broadcaster has obtained some of this footage from The Evidence Room and has just gone to air with it.
“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.
An executive producer at the channel, however, rejected these claims.
“We would not have run the footage if we thought we had obtained it illegally,” Mark Llewellyn, of Sunday Night, told The Guardian.
He added: “The story was run in Australia only and not made available to any other territory.”
Pistorius and his attorney, Brian Webber, in court on 5 March The programme was reportedly watched by 1.3million viewers, who saw the clip of the double-amputee pretending to hold a gun as he re-enacts crossing his floor before shooting into the bathroom.
Pistorius’ lawyer added: “For the family, the airing of this footage constitutes a staggering breach of trust and an invasion of the family's privacy.
“It has come to our attention that Channel Seven purchased this footage unlawfully. In addition, during our engagement with Channel Seven, we received an undertaking that they would not air any of the material before the end of the trial.”
Pistorius’ trial has recommenced following a month’s break so that the paralympian could undergo a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation.
If found guilty of premeditated murder, which he denies, he faces 25 years in jail.
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