Dagga case stalls over live stream bid
FRUSTRATION and costs mounted yesterday for dagga couple Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke as their second attempt to begin court proceedings into the legalisation of dagga stalled.
The trial was delayed for a second day as prosecutor William Mukhare brought an application for leave to appeal Judge Natvarlal Ranchod’s decision to grant the couple’s organisation Fields of Green for All permission to live-stream the proceedings.
Judge Ranchod had granted permission to live- stream the proceedings on Friday.
Mukhare, however, explained to the court that the decision to give permission ought not to have been granted as the organisation was not a broadcaster or traditional media.
He said unlike traditional media, regulated and held accountable by various regulatory bodies, the latter was not and, as such, could not be held accountable other than taking more of the court’s time.
Mukhare said Fields of Green had no broadcasting licence and may not be objective. Additionally, he said the reasons behind the streaming, being for personal interests or commercial avenues, could not be ascertained.
He said: “They are a third party who are directly linked to the case for being in possession and dealing in cannabis and as such ordinary rules governing the media do not apply to them.”
Advocate Redge Willis said the couple had misinformed the court about not making a profit from broadcasting as the production company tasked to stream proceedings had even offered to provide footage for a fee to SABC and ANN7.
The defence said the reasons for the objections were not justified as the live feeds would not be edited, and with modern technological means anyone in the gallery could live-tweet proceedings.
He said, if anything, the live stream would allow for more accurate reporting of proceedings rather than after-the-fact reports.
A request for costs associated with travel and accommodation for experts flown in from abroad to testify was reserved due to the delay in trial proceedings.
The couple, speaking outside the court, said they were frustrated with the delay in the trial as it was taking a toll on them financially.
Clarke said she was scrambling to change flight tickets for their experts following the second day of delays.
She said it could cost them R10 000 just to change flight tickets.
She said: “We’re a small organisation and these delays are really costing us a lot of money. It’s very stressful and we’re simply at the mercy of the courts.
“They blatantly accused us of offering ANN7 and SABC footage for a fee. We don’t buy the media, but we wouldn’t as it would damage our reputations,” said Clarke.
Stobbs said they had no idea that approaching the court for permission to live stream would result in so many delays.
Judge Ranchod granted permission for the stream for the second time, but proceedings were postponed to determine the conditions for the live stream.
“It’s not over till the fat lady sings as they now want to bring a petition to the Supreme Court of Appeal, because they were denied the right to appeal here. We don’t care who does it as long as someone does,” Stobbs said.
It’s not over till the fat lady sings…
DAGGA IS GAGGA: People opposed to the use of dagga protest outside the high court in Pretoria yesterday.
COSTS: Myrtle Clarke and Julian Stobbs were dismayed following further delays to the start of the trial over live streaming the proceedings of their not for profit organisation, Fields of Green for All.