TenseVan Breda awaits rul­ing on livestream­ing

The Herald (South Africa) - - NEWS - Tanya Far­ber

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.

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