NPA sides with court on me­dia ban in Karabo case

Sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion in State af­fi­davit could harm probe

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - TANKISO MAKHETHA

THE Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Au­thor­ity has in­sisted that it stands with the courts in pre­vent­ing the me­dia from broad­cast­ing or pub­lish­ing ev­i­dence led dur­ing the bail ap­pli­ca­tion of the man ac­cused of killing his girl­friend, Karabo Mokoena.

This comes after the Times Me­dia Group filed an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion seek­ing the court to re­scind an or­der it granted, bar­ring the me­dia from re­port­ing on the bail ap­pli­ca­tion of Sandile Mantsoe.

Mag­is­trate Carlo Labuschagne or­dered that the me­dia was al­lowed to re­port only on the judg­ment of the bail ap­pli­ca­tion.

Yes­ter­day, the NPA was adamant that it won’t budge on its stance.

Spokesper­son Phindi Mjon­od­wane said: “As the State, we stand by the court. The me­dia brought an ap­pli­ca­tion to film… and the State and de­fence op­posed it.”

Danie Schoe­man, who was pre­vi­ously at­tached to the Mag­is­trates’ Com­mis­sion, said pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers han­dling mat­ters were within their scope to de­cide whether the me­dia was granted per­mis­sion to cover court cases.

“Ul­ti­mately, it’s up to the mag­is­trate whether he al­lows the me­dia to re­port on cases,” he said.

“The pre­sid­ing of­fi­cer will de­cide whether the mer­its of the case can be re­ported on or not. But usu­ally in South Africa, pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers do not have a prob­lem with me­dia cov­er­age in cases.”

Labuschagne ruled that ev­i­dence led dur­ing Mantsoe’s bail ap­pli­ca­tion in the Jo­han­nes­burg Mag­is­trate’s Court may not be broad­cast or pub­lished.

The ap­pli­ca­tion was brought by the NPA and Mantsoe’s le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Labuschagne told the court on Fri­day that there would be two pro­ceed­ings: the first one be­ing the me­dia ap­pli­ca­tion and the sec­ond the bail ap­pli­ca­tion.

“We will hear the ap­pli­ca­tion. I can’t tell you whether we will pro­ceed with the ap­pli­ca­tion; maybe we can or maybe we have to re­mand it. I will try to do it as quickly as pos­si­ble to not in­fringe on your rights,” Labuschagne said to Mantsoe.

Lindi NkosiThomas of the Na­tional Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions told the court that by agree­ment be­tween both par­ties, the me­dia ac­cess ap­pli­ca­tion would be post­poned to June 23 for ar­gu­ment.

Mantsoe faces a charge of mur­der and de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice after Mokoena’s charred re­mains were found in the veld in Bram­ley, Joburg.

Mjon­od­wane pre­vi­ously spoke about the me­dia black­out, say­ing it was not un­usual.

“It’s not some­thing out of the or­di­nary, and as much as we re­spect the me­dia’s role to ed­u­cate and in­form the pub­lic, we should also guard against it tam­per­ing with the strength of the State’s case,” she said.

“The type of de­ci­sion made by the pre­sid­ing of­fice was in agree­ment with us that there might be sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion con­tained in the State’s af­fi­davit that might have a neg­a­tive im­pact on the process of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions,” Mjon­od­wane said.

The mat­ter was post­poned to June 23.

Karabo Mokoena

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