Right to report on Karabo Mokoena case must be respected, says lawyer

2017-05-24 21:51
(Karabo Mokoena, Twitter)

(Karabo Mokoena, Twitter)

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Johannesburg – Media lawyer Dario Milo has told News24 that the ruling made by Magistrate Carel Labuschagne is incorrect, saying media ought to have been allowed to report on the bail application of Sandile Mantsoe on Wednesday morning.

This follows the ruling by the magistrate that the media could not broadcast or publish the bail application of Mantsoe, 27, who is accused of the murder of his ex-girlfriend Karabo Mokoena. 

Both the state and the defence brought the application, saying the bail application contained "sensitive information". The ruling however, stated that the media was only allowed to publish and report on the judgment of the bail application.

Labuschagne said that the names of witnesses from both sides would be mentioned, which could jeopardise the trial and he said he had to weigh up the right to freedom of expression against the rights of the accused.

But according to Milo, the right to open justice meant that the media could report on any open court proceedings.

"Bail hearings are no different," he said.

At the time of the bail application, there were no witnesses named at Court 13 of the Johannesburg Magistrate's court. After the court proceedings, journalists also challenged NPA spokesperson, Phindi Louw, saying that the information which was regarded as "sensitive" was already in the public domain.

"If, for example, the affidavits in the bail proceedings contain truly sensitive information that cannot be revealed to the public, that can be redacted. But as a general principle, the right to report must be respected," said Milo.

Mantsoe was remanded in custody, and the bail application has been postponed to June 9.

Mokoena's body was found disposed of in an open veld. She had been burnt beyond recognition, and was only identified through DNA. 

Read more on:    npa  |  karabo mokoena  |  johannesbrug  |  crime

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