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Pistorius: Judge bans live broadcast of autopsy

The judge in Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial has banned all live broadcast of autopsy evidence given by a forensic medicine expert.

Pathologist Gert Saayman said that broadcasting his report could compromise the “dignity of the deceased”.

The Paralympic athlete denies intentionally killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He vomited in court as he heard the autopsy report.

Saayman used the following arguments to persuade Judge Thokozile Masipa to ban broadcasts of his autopsy report:

“Very personal nature of the findings”
“Graphic details of the injuries have the potential to compromise the dignity of the deceased”
It may “harm the rights” of friends and family of the deceased
“Goes against the morals of society”
The judge also banned coverage of the details of the autopsy report through Twitter.

Large parts of the trial have been televised – a first for South Africa – but there are some media restrictions in place.

For example, there is a ban on showing the faces of witnesses giving evidence, as well as on close-up shots of people in the courtroom.

Earlier, a security guard at the compound where Pistorius lived defended his own account of phone calls made in the minutes after the shooting of Steenkamp.

Pieter Baba said he had phoned Pistorius and not the other way round, as the defence team had suggested.

Pistorius says he mistook the 29-year-old model and aspiring lawyer for an intruder.

If found guilty, the 27-year-old, a national sporting hero dubbed the “blade runner”, could face life imprisonment.

On Friday Baba, a security guard working at Pistorius’ gated community, spoke of his shock at seeing Pistorius carrying a dying Ms Steenkamp down the stairs at the athlete’s villa.

Baba said he had called Pistorius in response to neighbours’ reports of gunfire from the house in the early hours of the morning.

The guard said Pistorius had told him: “Everything is fine,” before calling him back a few minutes later and crying down the phone.

On Monday, Pistorius’ defence lawyer suggested the athlete had called Baba first and not the other way round, but the witness stuck to his testimony.

Pistorius’ lawyer, Barry Roux, then suggested his client had said: “I am fine,” and not: “Everything is fine,” but again the witness said this was not true.

“My Lady, what I just told the court is the truth,” Baba told the judge.

During an emotional testimony on Friday, his former girlfriend, Samantha Taylor, described how Pistorius fired his gun from his car. The athlete denies doing so.

Pistorius has appeared distraught as the events of February 14, 2013 have been recounted in the court in Pretoria.

The state is seeking to convince the court that Pistorius and Steenkamp, a model, reality TV star and law graduate, had an argument before the athlete fired the shots that killed his girlfriend.

There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will ultimately be decided by the judge.

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