Pistorius 'won't be able to sue over film'

04 October 2017 - 06:32 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
Oscar Pistorius in court on the first day of his trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. File photo.
Oscar Pistorius in court on the first day of his trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. File photo.
Image: POOL via Sapa

Oscar Pistorius has little or no chance to sue the producers of an upcoming movie portraying the Blade Runner, say experts.

On Tuesday his family announced they would take legal action against the film company, Lifetime.

"The film was made with blatant disregard of both the Steenkamp and Pistorius families, as well as complete disregard for Reeva and Oscar.

"Neither Oscar, nor the defence or the family were involved in the production of this film in any way," said Pistorius's family.

A teaser for Blade Runner Killer was released on Monday. It shows scenes of court proceedings and what may have happened the night Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva.

Steenkamp's family have also slammed the movie saying that they were not consulted about it. The Steenkamps called for Lifetime to publicly state they had not endorsed the movie. "Any impression that this is June [Steenkamp]'s view, or that the movie is endorsed by the Steenkamp family, is untrue and incorrect."

Media Monitoring Africa director William Bird said he was unsure that Pistorius's family had any basis to sue. He said while the movie was upsetting, there was no "reasonable" basis for legal action. "They might try to interdict local cinemas from airing it."

Brendon Ambrose, of the law firm Spoor & Fisher, said Pistorius might base his challenge on his right to privacy as the film was unauthorised. "Defamation of character is an option, but is difficult to prove and is dependent on how Oscar is portrayed in the film.

"Defamation is unlikely to succeed because a defence to defamation is 'truth and in the public interest' which, if the film portrays the story as it actually happened, then defamation as a cause of action likely falls away."

Pistorius is serving six years' imprisonment for Steenkamp's murder, which the state will appeal as a too-lenient sentence.