49 cellphones were confiscated from police officers who used them to take pictures of Oscar Pistorius in South America. The photos were of the Olympic athlete as he was transferred to court following his arrest.
“This action was necessary after it came to light that photos were taken of a high profile individual who had been arrested,” Mthethwa wrote in the reply to a question by South Africa’s opposition party, the Democratic Alliance.
The minister said four “official” cellphones, and 45 private phones were taken from the officers on Feb. 20, six days after Pistorius’ arrest. They could be used as evidence in possible disciplinary proceedings against the police officers, Mthethwa said. Mthethwa did not reveal how many officers had taken photos of Pistorius or how many — if any — are facing disciplinary action.
The former lead police investigator in the case also said that he had fears that reporters were trying to buy pictures of key pieces of evidence from officers in the first few days after the shooting, including the toilet door through which Pistorius fired the shots that killed Steenkamp inside the athlete’s home in the predawn hours of Valentine’s Day.
The door was then taken from inside the bathroom in Pistorius’ house and put in a body bag and moved to a senior policeman’s office, former detective Hilton Botha said.
Pistorius was initially held at Boschkop, a station close to his home in suburban Pretoria, after being arrested on Feb. 14.
The Olympic athlete was arrested for the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.