Judge Masipa clarifies decision to lift ban on Steenkamp's crime scene pics

The judge says now that the family has agreed to allow the pictures to be published, she cannot object.

South African judge Thokozile Masipa. Picture: Pool.

PRETORIA - The High Court in Pretoria has granted an application by the State to lift a ban on the publication of pictures depicting Reeva Steenkamp's body despite objections from Oscar Pistorius's legal team.

The order was granted shortly after the legal teams wrapped up closing arguments and adjourned until 6 July for sentence to be handed down.

The former athlete is being sentenced as a murderer after the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned his culpable homicide conviction for killing Steenkamp in 2013.

Judge Thokozile Masipa says she lifted the ban on the gruesome crime scene pictures because it was the State which had asked for the ban in the first place.

This was done during the trial to protect the well-being of her parents and family.

Masipa says now that the family has agreed to allow the pictures to be published, she cannot object.

The judge also noted that the pictures were in any event part of the public record, which is usually freely available.

Pistorius's advocate, Barry Roux, was concerned that children might see them and suggested that the decision be the subject of a formal application.

While the State has asked Pistorius to be sent to prison for the minimum 15 years for murder, his defence has asked that be sentenced to correctional supervision.