Judgment reserved on broadcast of Van Breda trial

2017-05-18 16:24
Henri van Breda during an earlier court appearance. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Henri van Breda during an earlier court appearance. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

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Bloemfontein - The constitutional rights of the media and the general public can't be overemphasised, Advocate John Butler, SC, for Media24, said on Thursday in heads of argument in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

Transparency and accountability are the fundamental values of the Constitution. In terms of the principle of transparent justice, the public has to be informed as far as possible and made aware of what is transpiring in the courts.

Henri van Breda and the National Prosecuting Authority are appealing against a ruling by Judge Siraj Desai which allows Media24 to make and broadcast video and sound recordings of Van Breda's murder trial.

Judgment was reserved by a full bench of appeal judges, Netwerk24 reported.

Van Breda, 22, is facing charges in the Western Cape High Court of murdering his parents, Martin, 54 and Teresa, 55 as well as his brother Rudi, 22.

Flexible orders

Their bodies were found in their home on the De Zalze golf estate outside Stellenbosch on January 27, 2015.

Desai made it clear that the conditions for his ruling could be adapted and that a witness who had good reason not to have his or her testimony broadcast, would be assisted by the court.

He also ruled that footage or photos of Van Breda's sister Marli may not be taken without permission.

Butler said if there was any dispute over broadcasting recordings during the court case, it could be solved easily. It wasn't necessary to hear all the arguments again.  

Desai's orders are flexible and can be adjusted as and when required during the trial.

He already did so on April 24, without the trial being disrupted. On April 25, the media was allowed to be present during an on-site investigation at De Zalze.

Van Breda claims the cameras and recorders in the court will intimidate him. The NPA said it would have a similar effect on witnesses, who would be unwilling to testify.


Butler said recordings were made in court in any case. The question is what real effect an additional microphone or two cameras can have on a witness or Van Breda.

Van Breda also claims that a direct broadcast of proceedings can have an influence on cross examination of witnesses who will be testifying later because they can follow it.

Butler said witnesses waiting to testify could in any case follow the trial by reading newspapers or on social media via their cellphones.

Butler was assisted by Advocate Marilena Maddison.

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

Read more on:    media24  |  henri van breda  |  bloemfontein  |  judiciary  |  crime  |  van breda murders

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