Van Breda to SCA in bid to stop broadcast of trial

2017-04-18 16:09
Henri van Breda leaves the Western Cape High Court. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Henri van Breda leaves the Western Cape High Court. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Johannesburg - Murder-accused Henri van Breda on Tuesday filed papers with the Supreme Court of Appeal challenging a ruling allowing Media24 permission to livestream his trial.

Van Breda and the National Director of Public Prosecutions felt his right to a fair trial would be compromised if it was broadcast, Van Breda's lawyer Lorinda van Niekerk said in an affidavit.

He is charged with three counts of murder, one of attempted murder, and one of defeating or obstructing the administration of justice.

His parents, Martin, 54, and Teresa, 55, and his brother Rudi, 22, were axed to death in their home on the luxury De Zalze golf estate in Stellenbosch in the early hours of Tuesday, January 27, 2015. He handed himself to police in June and was granted bail of R100 000 on June 14.

His sister, Marli, 18, survived the attack, but sustained serious brain injuries and has amnesia.

On April 12, Van Breda and the NDPP filed an urgent application at the Constitutional Court to appeal the Western Cape High Court's ruling allowing Media24 permission to broadcast the trial.

Expert witnesses

The Constitutional Court dismissed the application on April 13.

Van Niekerk said livestreaming the entire trial could scare off witnesses.

"It is widely accepted that that the thought of having to appear on television may intimidate and inhibit witnesses. In particular, the knowledge that their evidence will be recorded and broadcast may prevent witnesses for the prosecution, including experts, from making concessions favourable to the accused under cross-examination, which they would otherwise have been prepared to make had the proceedings not been broadcast."

Some expert witnesses had indicated they would feel uncomfortable testifying should the trial be broadcast, she said.

On March 24, the Western Cape High Court heard the application to record and broadcast the trial.

On March 27, the day the trial was due to start, Judge Siraj Desai granted Media24 permission to install two cameras to record and or broadcast the proceedings, subject to certain guidelines.

Van Niekerk said when the matter sat at 14:15 that day, both Van Breda and the State indicated they intended appealing the order. Desai postponed the trial to April 24.

Van Breda was not asked to plead.

* News24 is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Media24, a Naspers company

Read more on:    media24  |  henri van breda  |  cape town  |  media  |  crime

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