Oscar Pistorius's media manager denies athlete took acting classes

Tuesday 22 April 2014 18.52
It has been denied that Oscar Pistorius took acting lessons
It has been denied that Oscar Pistorius took acting lessons

A spokeswoman for Oscar Pistorius has said suggestions that the athlete had taken acting lessons ahead of his emotional murder trial testimony were "totally devoid of any truth".

We "deny that our client has undergone any 'acting lessons' or any form of emotional coaching", Anneliese Burgess, media manager for the Pistorius family, said in a statement on his website.

Mr Pistorius broke down repeatedly in the witness box as he gave his version of shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

His vomiting and loud crying have often disrupted proceedings, and some have questioned his sincerity.

Well-known South African columnist Jani Allan claimed he had been coached for his emotional performance.

"I have it from a reliable source that you are taking acting lessons for your days in court. Your coach has an impossible task," she wrote in an open letter posted on her website last week.

"Oscar, you are the latest in a long line of faux heroes. Like so many who preceded you, you have betrayed your people and disappointed your fans."

But the Pistorius family described her allegations as "fictitious", saying any "suggestion that Mr Pistorius 'took acting classes' is totally devoid of any truth".

"This type of comment makes a mockery of the enormous human tragedy involving the Steenkamp family and our client and his family," Ms Burgess said in the statement.

Mr Pistorius said he fired four shots through a locked cubicle door thinking Ms Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, was an intruder coming to attack him in the dead of night.

Prosecutors have argued that the shooting came after a row in the early morning hours.

His trial was postponed for the Easter break and will restart on 5 May.

Meanwhile, the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland has upheld 65 complaints against bookmaker Paddy Power for its controversial Pistorius advertisement.

The advertising featured an image of an Oscar statuette, with the face of the athlete Oscar Pistorius.

It said: "It's Oscar Time", "Money back if he walks" and "We will refund all losing bets on the Oscar Pistorius trial if he is found not guilty". 

It was found to be offensive as it appeared to make light of murder and domestic violence.