Leaked Witness Photo Halts Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial

The Oscar Pistorius murder trial came to a screeching halt after a South African television station leaked a photo of the prosecution's first witness.
Posted at 8:00 AM, Mar 04, 2014

The Oscar Pistorius murder trial came to a screeching halt after a South African television station leaked a photo of the prosecution's first witness to the public.

The judge ordered an investigation Tuesday after local station eNCA showed a photo of the double amputee track star's neighbor, Michelle Burger, while playing audio of her testimony.

The proceedings are being broadcast live, but a judge ruled last week witnesses must give their consent before being filmed. (Via BBC)

Burger, a lecturer at Pretoria University, had previously requested not to have her face shown on TV.

And the public was only able to hear audio of Burger's testimony Monday. Her statement about what she heard the day Pistorius killed his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp made headlines. (Via The Guardian)

"My lady, just after three, I woke up from a woman's terrible screams. Just after her screams, my lady, I heard four shots." (Via The Telegraph)

NBC reports cameras aren't just barred from showing people who ask for it. The judge ruled cameras can't show Pistorius' face during his testimony, and defense witnesses' faces will also be excluded from the broadcast.

But eNCA says they weren't in the wrong because the image of Burger they used was from a website, not from the trial itself.

The outlet quoted their head of news on Twitter Tuesday. "We used a still picture from the University website — also carried in daily newspapers."

"Going through the court order, we were not in violation of the court order, and I need to stress that. However, I think what has happened is that there's such a sensitivity around the first time the cameras have been allowed in court." (Via eNCA)

But that didn't exactly sway the judge's opinion, who called the leak "disturbing" and warned the media to "behave" themselves. (Via CNN)

The judge ordered that no photographs of a witness who doesn't want to be identified will be broadcast from now on. The trial resumed later in the day, but an investigation into exactly what happened is now underway.