De­ci­sion on me­dia at trial wel­comed

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

JUS­TICE and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Min­is­ter Michael Ma­sutha has wel­comed a judg­ment made by the Supreme Court of Ap­peal (SCA) on the ap­peal lodged by the State against Me­dia24’s live stream­ing of the Henri van Breda mur­der trial.

The ap­peal was lodged by the Na­tional Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions (NDPP) against the judg­ment of the West­ern Cape High Court to al­low the me­dia to cover the trial, and take pho­to­graphs be­fore trial and dur­ing ad­journ­ments.

On Wed­nes­day, the SCA ruled that a re­quest to broad­cast a crim­i­nal trial should be de­cided by the trial court on a case-by-case ba­sis af­ter a proper ap­pli­ca­tion had been brought be­fore it.

Spokesper­son Mthunzi Mhaga said: “The min­is­ter wel­comes the bal­anc­ing act demon­strated by the SCA in terms of a right to fair trial ver­sus me­dia free­dom and the right to know.”

He said the ap­peal was sought to pro­tect wit­nesses tes­ti­fy­ing in crim­i­nal mat­ters, so that they may give ev­i­dence in a man­ner free from the scru­tiny that may be caused by a live broad­cast of their tes­ti­mony.

“The court ruled that care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion must be given to the ob­jec­tion of an ac­cused to the pres­ence of cam­eras in the court­room, strik­ing a con­sti­tu­tion­ally ap­pro­pri­ate bal­ance between poli­cies favour­ing pub­lic ac­cess to court pro­ceed­ings and the ac­cused’s right to a fair trial and en­sur­ing that such fair trial rights are not prej­u­diced.”

Van Breda is ac­cused of killing his par­ents, Martin and Teresa van Breda, and his brother Rudi van Breda at their De Zalze home two years ago.

At the start of the trial in April, Judge Si­raj De­sai ruled that video clips of pro­ceed­ings may be broad­cast, with an ex­cep­tion that Marli Van Breda’s tes­ti­mony be recorded in writ­ten com­ments only. – Staff Re­porter

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