Pistorius trial: The pathologist's report

  • 10 March 2014
  • From the section Africa
Media caption"It has been a day of graphic testimony"

Oscar Pistorius knew what was coming - the detailed pathologist's report about the injuries sustained by Reeva Steenkamp. During a brief recess beforehand, the athlete's sister Aimee moved over briefly to sit beside him in the dock, and hugged him.

Then Professor Gert Saayman began, and the athlete leant forward in his seat, his hands - holding a white handkerchief - clutched over his head as if to protect himself. As he began to retch, a court orderly pushed what appeared to be a waste bin closer to Mr Pistorius's feet.

Twice the judge halted proceedings to ask if the accused was able to continue and if he could hear the evidence being presented.

The Pistorius family sat, stiffly, holding hands in the row behind him. From my position I couldn't see the reaction further along the bench, where some of Reeva Steenkamp's friends were seated.

Earlier in the morning, the pathologist had made a plea to the judge for the live broadcasting of the trial's proceedings to be suspended during his testimony, because of the graphic nature of the evidence, and in order to protect the dignity of the deceased and her relatives, and for the "good morals of society."

A lawyer representing the South African broadcasters in charge of filming the courtroom live argued that his clients would drop their contemporaneous television feed, and instead put together a package of material each day to be approved by all parties.

There was some discussion about whether reporters would be able to tweet live from the court, and also about the extent to which any restrictions might apply to the print media.

The judge finally decided she would announce her decision on Tuesday. There was some brief confusion about what journalists were or were not able to do in the meantime, but it quickly became apparent that all live broadcasts, as well as tweeting and blogging, would be suspended pending the judge's final ruling.

In a calm, steady voice, Mr Saayman described the injuries - gunshot wounds and related damage - which Ms Steenkamp had sustained. At various points photographs of the deceased were handed around the courtroom.

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