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South African journalist accuses Oscar Pistorius of taking acting lessons before trial

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April 17, 2014: Oscar Pistorius yawns as he listens to forensic evidence being given in court in Pretoria, South Africa. (AP Photo/Alet Pretorius, Pool)

A South African journalist has claimed that Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius had received acting lessons before the start of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. 

Jani Allan, a former columnist for the South African Sunday Times, made the claim in a piece posted on her personal blog last week in the form of an open letter to the double-amputee runner.

"I have it from a reliable source that you are taking acting lessons for your days in court," Allan wrote. "Your coach has an impossible task."

Allan backed up the piece in an interview with the British newspaper The Sunday People, saying "I have this information from extremely reliable sources ... I have it on very good authority that Oscar is being coached on his court performance by a close actor friend, who is also famous in South Africa."

Prosecutors say Pistorius deliberately killed Steenkamp in the early morning hours of February 14, 2013 after the couple had argued. Pistorius claims that he had mistaken Steenkamp for a burglar when he shot her through the closed bathroom door in his house in a Pretoria gated community. 

Pistorius' court appearances have been marked by frequent shows of emotion, most notably when he was cross-examined by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel. The trial, which began in March, has been adjourned until May 5 due to the Easter holiday and other commitments made by the various attorneys. 

Allan has a checkered history of her own. In 1989, while still a columnist for the South African Sunday Times, regarded as white South Africa's paper of record, she was accused of having an affair with Eugene Terre-Blanche, a former interview subject and a prominent figure in South Africa's pro-apartheid movement. Allan has always having an affair.