Pistorius sits in the dock as he listens to cross
questioning about the events surrounding the shooting death
of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, in court during his trial
in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, March 10, 2014. The
testimony in the first week of Pistorius' murder trial was
jaw dropping at times, and more riveting evidence is
expected as the prosecution seeks to prove beyond reasonable
doubt that the double-amputee athlete intentionally shot
dead Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013.
Africa — The judge in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius on
Monday banned live broadcasting and tweeting of the graphic
testimony of the expert who conducted the autopsy on Reeva
Steenkamp, who was fatally shot by her athlete boyfriend.
The court heard
arguments about whether to allow audio and video broadcasting of
the testimony of Prof. Gert Saayman, head of the forensic medicine
department at the University of Pretoria.
Masipa announced the ban after prosecutor Gerrie Nel, supported by
chief defense lawyer Barry Roux, said Saayman's testimony would
have an "explicitly graphic nature" and should not be
shown around the world.
"It's not a
question of press freedom," Nel said.
his testimony, Saayman said the "very personal nature"
of his autopsy findings as well as graphic details about the
injuries could "compromise the dignity of the deceased,"
as well as harm her friends and family, if they are broadcast.
against the good morals of society for us to make information of
this nature available" in a way that children and other
unsuspecting people might be exposed, Saayman said in the witness
be partly televised and the audio can be broadcast in its entirety
under a judge's pre-trial order that sought to balance the right
to a fair trial with the intense public interest in the Pistorius
case and the principle of open justice. Under the order, some
witnesses can choose not to be shown on television.
Masipa extended that order, saying "private witnesses are
more vulnerable than public figures" and that still
photographs of witnesses who requested some discretion cannot be
published or disseminated for the duration of the trial, even if
they were obtained from sources outside the courtroom.
The new ruling
followed the publication in a South African media outlet last week
of a photo of a witness whose image was lifted from a publicly
first amputee to run in the Olympics, is charged with premeditated
murder for Steenkamp's shooting death. The 27-year-old Pistorius
says the killing was accidental because he thought his girlfriend
was a dangerous intruder in a toilet cubicle in his home.
adjournment Monday, a security guard who said he spoke with
Pistorius soon after the shooting of Steenkamp was questioned by
the defense about his recollection of the sequences of the events
The sequence is
important for the defense because, if it can prove that Pistorius
called security first, it could support the contention that he was
seeking help as quickly as possible.
The guard, Pieter
Baba, had recalled a conversation with the double-amputee runner,
who killed Steenkamp in his home in the early hours of Valentine's
Day last year. Baba testified Friday that he called Pistorius and
was told "everything is fine" on the telephone. Baba
said Pistorius then called him back moments later, didn't speak,
was crying and the second call then ended.
Baba said he was
responding to neighbors' reports of gunshots coming from Pistorius'
home after 3 a.m. on Feb. 14, 2013. He drove with a fellow guard
to Pistorius' villa and made the call from outside the house.
that he called Pistorius first could back the prosecution's case
that the killing was premeditated, and that Pistorius was trying,
at least initially, to conceal what he had done.
however, Roux said call records showed Pistorius called security
first, but couldn't speak because he was "indeed
"I'm the one
who called him first," Baba insisted.
was first and your call was second," countered Roux, saying
he had documents, including one from the police, which showed his
assertion to be true.
"I put proof
in front of you that Mr. Pistorius called first," Roux said.
Roux said Pistorius had called before the guards went to his
Pistorius called me first, then I would have known that something
was wrong at his house," Baba replied, repeating his version.