'Biko autopsy report never belonged to Biko family'

Jeremy Clarke says the doc is a copy of a government or a state document, not a private Biko family document.

FILE: A 1977 File photo shows Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) founder Steve Bantu Biko. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The lawyer for the Steele family that tried to auction a Steve Biko autopsy report this week says the document that was up for sale never belonged to the Biko family and is a copy of a government document.

Earlier this week, the Biko family went to court to stop the auction.

The autopsy revealed Biko was killed through torture by security forces in 1977.

It was put up for sale by Clive, whose mother Maureen Steele, was given the document for safekeeping out of fear that it would be stolen by apartheid forces.

The High Court in Johannesburg ruled that the auction of the document could not go ahead, preventing Westgate Walding auctioneers from selling the item along with other valuable documents from the apartheid era.

It was put up for sale by Clive, whose mother Maureen Steele, was given the document for safekeeping out of fear that it would be stolen by apartheid forces.

Earlier today, Steve Biko's son Nkosinathi said the autopsy report by the family doctor Jonathan Gluckman had gone missing.

This was then confirmed by the University of the Witwatersrand's History Archive who said it was stolen during the mid-90's.

Jeremy Clark, the lawyer representing the Steele family, said, "The main issue is that the document is the copy of a government or a state document, not a private Biko family document. It is a copy of an autopsy report put together by five medical specialists."

Clark said Nkosinathi should have tried to look at the document that was to be sold before going to court.

"He should then have paged through the document and he would've immediately seen it is not the document he referred to in his affidavit, it is a government document. It quite simply is not the property of the Biko family."

The High Court also ordered the cancellation of the sale of Ahmed Timol's autopsy report.

Biko died after being tortured by apartheid security forces in 1977, while Timol died falling out of the 10th floor window of the then John Vorster Square Police Station.

Officers claim he committed suicide but that has been disputed by his family.

It's emerged the sale of report was expected to fetch as much as R100,000 at auction.

The Biko autopsy report was priced between 70 and 100,000 rand while the Timul document was expected to fetch between 20 and 25,000 rand.