Lawyers for Oscar Pistorius are angry that footage showing the Olympian re-enacting the events of the night he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp has been broadcast on Australian television.
Lawyers for the athlete say the video was commissioned by his defence team and obtained unlawfully.
“For the family, the airing of this footage constitutes a staggering breach of trust and an invasion of the family’s privacy,” lawyer Brian Webber said in a statement, according a report in Fairfax media.
In the footage aired on the program Sunday Night the double-amputee is seen crossing a room on his bare stumps, wearing a tank top and tight black shorts, his hand clenched in the air as if ready to fire a gun.
The 27-year-old is seen screaming and crying for help, and carrying his younger sister Aimee down a flight of stairs, as he acts out his account of the minutes after he shot Steenkamp.
The video was made by the Evidence Room, a US company based in Cleveland, Ohio, that specialises in forensic animation.
The Evidence Room was hired by the defence team in October 2013 to digitally depict the sequence of events early on Valentine’s Day last year, when Pistorius shot his girlfriend four times through a locked toilet door.
The animation firm used the footage of Pistorius moving on his stumps in order to reimagine the crime scene in an animated format.
Brian Webber, a lawyer representing Pistorius, said in a statement the video was “obtained illegally and in breach of the non-disclosure agreement with The Evidence Room”.
“Channel 7 purchased this footage unlawfully,” said Webber, adding that the broadcaster had agreed not to air the material until the end of the trial.
“Whilst we cannot imagine how any of the footage would not support Oscar’s version, we will only be in a position to comment further once we have had the opportunity to study what has been aired.”
Channel 7, which did not say how it obtained the film, invited viewers to “vote” on the murder case in light of the new footage.
Comment is being sought from the network.
Stephen Tuson, an associate law professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, said the origin of the footage is important.
“If it was produced by the defence as part of their investigation and preparation for the trial, it’s strictly privileged, it’s confidential and it can not be used,” said Tuson.
“Whatever you tell your attorney is strictly confidential and privileged, if there’s a breach of that, there can be a mistrial.”
Pistorius, known as the “Blade Runner” for his prosthetic limbs, has been charged with murdering Steenkamp after a row early on the morning of February 14, 2013.
The sprinter claims he mistakenly shot the 29-year-old model and law graduate through a locked door, believing she was an intruder in his upmarket Pretoria home.