TenseVan Breda awaits ruling on livestreaming
YESTERDAY, more than any other day‚ the blank canvas that is Henri van Breda’s face was coloured with anxiety.
He sat in the dock looking nervous and haunted – but at the same time drained, as if the last 50-plus days in court have pulled the life force from him.
It is not surprising, given the turn of events – while a long parade of witnesses have testified against him‚ and a small number in his favour‚ he has worn a poker face‚ a sullen face‚ an amused face when shards of humour have broken through‚ and has also on occasion shed some tears.
However, the public has not actually heard him speak.
Livestreamed testimony of an accused can take the public spectacle of a court case to a whole new level, as it did with the Oscar Pistorius trial.
Van Breda’s testimony was due to begin yesterday‚ but in a surprise move‚ his defence counsel applied for the cameras to be turned off.
Now he must wait until this morning to hear if he – like all the other witnesses – will give testimony for all the world to see.
The default is that it should be, in terms of an agreement that all witnesses would appear on the livestream‚ unless they felt they had just reason to be exempt from this – at which point Judge Siraj Desai would consider their reasons on a case-by-case basis.
No other witnesses have asked not to testify before the cameras.
Van Breda’s application is based on the argument that he stutters and that this may affect his demeanour.