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Portions of Pistorius' murder trial to be broadcast

Feb. 25, 2014 at 8:08 AM
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PRETORIA, South Africa, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Parts of South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius' murder trial will be broadcast, but not testimony by Pistorius and his witnesses, a judge said Tuesday.

In his ruling, Judge President Dunstan Mlambo said opening and closing arguments of the state and the defense may be broadcast live, as well as testimony by experts, police officers and state witnesses as long as the witnesses don't object to the live recordings, the (Gauteng) Star reported.

The double-amputee sprinter known as "the Blade Runner" is accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, at his home in Pretoria Feb. 14, 2013. He said he thought he was shooting at an intruder when he fired through the closed bathroom door and hit Steenkamp.

The trial for the 27-year-old Pistorius, who raced in the Olympics and Paralympics in London in 2012, is scheduled to begin in March.

Mlambo also said there would be no manned cameras and no extreme close-ups.

Mlambo stressed that constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and freedom of the press conflicted with Pistorius' right to a fair trial.

He said Pistorius' legal team argued allowing cameras in the courtroom could affect the trial's outcome by directly affecting witnesses and their testimony. However, the judge also said the public had a right to be informed on the proceedings and transparency was important, the Star said.

Mlambo said Pistorius' legal team's argument that witnesses could be affected by visual coverage of the trial had merit, but that audio coverage wasn't as intrusive.

His ruling was delayed Tuesday after a woman interrupted the hearing. She said she had been victimized during Pistorius' bail application last year, the Star reported. Last year, the woman claimed Pistorius' mother visited her in a dream.

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