TIME South Africa

Oscar Pistorius Denies Taking Pre-Trial Acting Lessons

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius exits the courtroom after his murder trial was postponed at the high court in Pretoria on March 28, 2014.
Paralympian Oscar Pistorius exits the courtroom after his murder trial was postponed at the high court in Pretoria on March 28, 2014. Werner Beukes—AFP/Getty Images

A South African columnist claims a "reliable source" told her that the accused took acting lessons before his day in court, an allegation the athlete's legal team has categorically denied

A spokesperson for Oscar Pistorius has denied accusations that the athlete had taken acting lessons before taking the stand to defend himself from charges he murdered his girlfriend.

A South African newspaper columnist alleged that the Olympic athlete’s emotional testimony—during which he has repeatedly wept uncontrollably—wasn’t genuine. “I have it from a reliable source that you are taking acting lessons for your days in court,” Jani Allan wrote in an open letter to Pistorius on her website. “Your coach has an impossible task… Oscar, you are the latest in a long line of faux heroes.”

Pistorius, 27, testified that he mistakenly shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp four times through a locked bathroom door, thinking that she was a home invader.

A statement by Anneliese Burgess, the media manager for the Pistorius family, said Tuesday that the allegation was not just “totally devoid of any truth” but that it “makes a mockery of the enormous human tragedy involving the Steenkamp family and our client and his family.”

Pistorius’ trial will resume May 5.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser