Tech­nol­ogy takes a back seat


“WE SHALL re­vert to the old way of do­ing things.”

With those few words, lap­tops, iPads, cell­phones and all record­ing de­vices in court­room 18 of the Rand­burg Mag­is­trate’s Court got switched off and placed out of sight. No live tweet­ing per­mit­ted. No up­dat­ing of Face­book sta­tuses.


“Although it may be prefer­able to have re­porters tweet live, it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of this court to guard against hav­ing other peo­ple avoid bring­ing such cases to court.

“The court is sat­is­fied that mem­bers of the me­dia should not con­tinue with live broad­cast at this junc­ture. We will re­vert to the old- fash­ioned way of tak­ing notes,” Mag­is­trate Naren Sew­narain said.

The or­der was made after Dan Roodt, who is rep­re­sent­ing Steve Hofmeyr in his case against the co­me­dian and ven­tril­o­quist Con­rad Koch – Ch­ester Miss­ing’s pup­pet master – ob­jected to a me­dia ap­pli­ca­tion to have pro­ceed­ings broad­cast live.

Roodt said a dan­ger­ous prece­dent would be set, re­sult­ing in peo­ple be­ing ha­rassed. They would be re­luc­tant to ap­proach the courts to put an end to their or­deal as per­sonal in­for­ma­tion would be beamed for the whole world to see.

He re­ferred to Koch’s tweet that Hofmeyr suf­fered from a vene­real dis­ease, say­ing should such dis­ease be con­firmed and proven in court, Hofmeyr had to be pro­tected against it be­ing made pub­lic.

And so be­gan the “old way” of tak­ing notes, elec­tronic de­vices tucked away and notepads and pens used to jot down pro­ceed­ings.

Where a text would have suf­ficed to com­mu­ni­cate a mes­sage, bits of pa­per with mes­sages scrib­bled ex­changed hands.

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