Oscar Pistorius has appeared emotionally distraught on several occasions in his murder trial. Now, the authenticity of the Olympian’s actions has come into question.
A new report is claiming that Pistorius, who is accused of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, is taking acting lessons. According to South African columnist Jani Allan, the double-amputee was taught to act distressed in the courtroom.
“I have it from a reliable source that you are taking acting lessons for your days in court,” Allan wrote in an open letter to Pistorius. “Your coach has an impossible task.”
Throughout the proceedings, Pistorius has been an emotional wreck. A week into the start of the trial, Pistorius vomited in court, as pathologist Dr. Gert Saayman discussed the findings of Steenkamp’s autopsy. A few days later, the accused threw up again, when images of Steenkamp’s dead body were shown in court. Pistorius was so distraught that the pictures had to be removed from the slide show.
Several times, Pistorius has broken down into tears in court. When he took the stand, the Olympian couldn’t get through his testimony without crying. He had difficulty recounting the events of Valentine’s Day 2013, as he sobbed, until he left the stand.
Pistorius’s camp claims that all of his emotions have been genuine.
“We deny in the strongest terms the contents of her [Allan] letter in as far it relates to our client and further deny that our client has undergone any 'acting lessons' or any form of emotional coaching,” Pistorius family media manager, Anneliese Burgess, said in a statement on the sprinter’s website. “This type of comment makes a mockery of the enormous human tragedy involving the Steenkamp family and our client and his family.”
Burgess went on to say that Allan has never met Pistorius, describing the writer’s claims as “fictitious.”
Since Steenkamp’s death, Pistorius has never denied killing her. He claims he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder, when he shot her through the bathroom door.
The trial began at the start of March, but took a recent recess for the Easter holiday. It’s set to resume on May 5.