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Bid to stop broadcast of Reeva’s post-mortem

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel, left, speaks with Barry Roux, legal representative for Oscar Pistorius. File picture: Herman Verwey

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel, left, speaks with Barry Roux, legal representative for Oscar Pistorius. File picture: Herman Verwey

Published Mar 10, 2014

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* This story has been updated.

Pretoria - The Oscar Pistorius murder trial was adjourned briefly at 10.30am to allow the media time to challenge the State's application that evidence by a doctor who conducted a post-mortem on Reeva Steenkamp should not be televised.

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Professor Gert Saayman was expected to give graphic details of the extent of Steenkamp's injuries but this evidence, said State advocate Gerrie Nel, “should not be sent out for the whole world to see”.

Defence advocate Barry Roux agreed that audiovisuals of Saayman's evidence should not be broadcast, a move that could affect the live broadcast of the trial.

Lawyers representing the media were challenging the decision so the matter was stood down to allow them to approach the court with their application.

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Saayman told the court there were three reasons why his testimony should not be broadcast.

1. The very personal findings and graphic details that emerge in an autopsy. These details have the potential to compromise Steenkamp's dignity. "It is our duty to preserve the dignity of the deceased," said Saayman.

2. By such public and contemporaneous screening of the information, it is possible to impinge on the rights of friends and relations of deceased.

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3. It goes against the good morals of society. Unaware people - including children - may be exposed to this kind of explicit information.

Some graphic aspects of Steenkamp's injuries have already been broadcast, after a radiologist who lives in the same estate as Pistorius told the court last week that he had arrived at Pistorius's house to find a bloodied Steenkamp on the floor with “brain tissue mixed with blood on her hair”.

This was in relation to the gunshot wound to the head after Pistorius fired shots through a locked toilet door, hitting Steenkamp three times.

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This was in the early hours of February 14 last year when Pistorius says he had mistaken his model girlfriend for an intruder. - Additional reporting by Shain Germaner.

The Star

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