UK advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered Paddy Power to withdraw a national press ad offering odds on the trial of South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius following an “unprecedented” number of complaints.

The ASA has taken the unusual step of ordering the operator to withdraw the ad from circulation pending the outcome of the investigation, which is being fast-tracked, due to the extraordinary nature of the situation.

The authority explained that it is investigating whether the ad is offensive for “trivialising the issues surrounding a murder trial, the death of a woman and disability,” and whether it “brings the good reputation of advertising generally into dispute.”

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