Pistorius pictures mystery

THE South African Police Service is considering launching an investigation into how SkyNews in the United Kingdom obtained highly sensitive photographs of the crime scene where paralympian Oscar Pistorius shot dead his girlfriend, former Port Elizabeth model Reeva Steenkamp.

However, despite the pictures of Pistorius’s bathroom where the shooting took place mysteriously emerging in the international media yesterday, police say they are confident their case against the athlete has not been jeopardised in any way.

National police spokesman Brigadier Phuti Setati insisted that publication of the photographs, which showed blood on a toilet seat and a pool of blood on the floor, would have no impact on the investigation.

“The evidence we have will be presented in court and our goal is to ensure conviction. We are still trying to establish whether this [the source of the pictures] warrants any further investigation,” Setati said.

“Our investigation [into Steenkamp’s death] is at a very advanced stage and he [Pistorius] will be appearing in court on Tuesday.”

The former lead investigator in the case, Hilton Botha, said at the time that media houses had offered to pay officers for exclusive pictures of Pistorius after the athlete was arrested for shooting Steenkamp.

Though it is not known whether the SkyNews pictures could have come from a police source, a foreign media house reportedly at one time offered an officer R458 000 for a photograph of the toilet door.

It was reported at the time that, according to a written response by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to a parliamentary question, cellphones were confiscated from 45 police officials.

Police also seized four other official police cellphones in a bid to control pictures being leaked.

Advocate Dup de Bruyn SC, who is representing Reeva Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June, of Seaview in Port Elizabeth, along with lawyer Mike Venter, confirmed that the Steenkamps were aware of the pictures having surfaced but said they had no comment.

In an e-mailed response, SkyNews said: “The pictures were obtained from a source and, in accordance with Sky News policy, no payment was made for them.

“The decision to run the piece was carefully considered as is any of our output before broadcast.”

Pistorius has denied murdering Steenkamp, claiming he mistook her for an intruder.

But the state argues he killed her following a fight and has charged him with premeditated murder.

This
is a version of an article that appeared in the print edition of the Weekend
Post on Saturday, June 1, 2013.

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