Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Parts of trial can be on live TV

Mar 21 2014, 15:09 IST
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Parts of Oscar Pistorius trial can be on live TV Parts of Oscar Pistorius trial can be on live TV
SummaryOscar Pistorius' lawyers failed in their bid to stop any part of the trial being broadcast.

Parts of Parts of Oscar Pistorius' murder trial can be broadcast live on television by three remote-controlled cameras in court,' murder trial can be broadcast live on television by three remote-controlled cameras in court, but testimony given by the double-amputee Olympian can't be shown, a judge has ruled.

Pistorius' lawyers failed in their bid to stop any part of the trial being broadcast as a judge sitting in the North Gauteng High Court, where the trial will open next week, yesterday ruled mostly in favour of the South African TV and radio applicants.

A live audio-only feed can broadcast the entire trial. Judge Dunstan Mlambo's decision opens up much of Pistorius' blockbuster trial to the expected scrutiny of millions of fascinated followers around the world.

"Court proceedings are in fact public and this objective must be recognised," Mlambo said.

The decision came two days after a Twitter site to be used by members of Pistorius' family during the trial became active. It already has more than 20,000 followers.

Mlambo, who won't preside over the trial, granted permission to the South African media houses to install unmanned television cameras in unobtrusive locations in the courtroom before the trial starts Monday.

Still photographs can be taken by two mounted cameras operated by photographers, but TV footage or photographs cannot show "extreme" close up images of anyone and some witnesses who object can stop their testimony from being broadcast.

Trial judge Thokozile Masipa can stop the recordings at any time, Mlambo said.

Pistorius' lawyers argued that broadcasting the trial in any way would harm his chances of a fair trial. Brian Webber, a lawyer for Pistorius, declined to comment on the ruling, saying he had yet to study it.

Pistorius was charged with murder for the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp a year ago, unleashing a wave of intense interest in the already world-famous disabled athlete.

He faces 25 years in prison if he is convicted on the main charge of premeditated murder, which he denies.

Mlambo called Pistorius "a local and international icon" and said the broadcast decision was a "balancing act" between guaranteeing him a fair trial and also respecting the freedom of the media. South African democracy is relatively young and the justice system is "still perceived as treating the rich and famous with kid gloves whilst being harsh on the poor and vulnerable," Mlambo said.

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