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Pistorius opposes bid to televise murder trial

Lawyers representing fallen Paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius on Wednesday objected to a bid by the media to televise his murder trial next month via remote-controlled “spy” cameras in the courtroom.

The sprinter’s lawyer Barry Roux argued in a Pretoria court that an application by several media outlets seeking to broadcast the proceedings live would infringe on Pistorius’ rights.

“Why can’t this be like any other trial? Why is he different? Is it because he ran fast on the track?” advocate Barry Roux asked the court.

“Does it mean that if you are a well-known person there has to be an infringement on your rights? I am talking here about his rights. Should we allow a potential infringement of his rights because of his profile?”

Pistorius goes on trial on March 3 charged with premeditated murder for gunning down his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year in what he claimed was an accident.

The case is one of South Africa’s most high profile murders and sparked an international media scrum.

One of the applicants is a 24-hour channel — The Oscar Pistorius Trial – a Carte Blanche Channel — dedicated to the trial and which is set to launch on March 2.

It has proposed to film the hearing using remote controlled, unmanned cameras.

This would see “spy cameras mounted in the courtroom” that could be deactivated if the trial judge felt it was warranted, fellow applicant EyeWitness News reported.

“What we are proposing here would tame the circus,” said Frank Snyckers, acting for the two media outlets.

“It won’t be necessary for everyone wanting a piece of the action to be in court,” he said.

The media want to broadcast audio of the full trial and to televise key parts — such as arguments, expert testimonies and judgments — with a pool feed available to broadcasters.

A ruling will be handed down on Tuesday.

South Africa’s prosecuting authority did not oppose the application by the media.

Pistorius, 27, whose legs were amputated below the knee when he was a young boy, is known worldwide as the “Blade Runner” for competing on two fibre-optic blades and running against able-bodied athletes in the London 2012 Olympic Games.