Van Breda, State win SCA appeal over trial livestream

2017-06-21 10:20
Henri van Breda (File, Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Henri van Breda (File, Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

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Bloemfontein – Murder-accused Henri van Breda has won his battle in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein to prohibit Media24 from livestreaming his trial.

"The matter is remitted to the high court for reconsideration in accordance with the principles set out in the judgment," the SCA ruled on Wednesday.  

The SCA ordered Media24 to pay Van Breda's costs.  

In April, Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai refused the State and Van Breda leave to appeal his decision allowing Media24 permission to livestream the axe murder accused's trial.

Desai said the National Director of Public Prosecutions and the accused "both continue to resist the video recording and broadcast of the criminal trial".

There was no evidence to support the State's claim of possible adverse effects of broadcasting the testimony of witnesses, Desai ruled, nor was it easily ascertainable how Van Breda's fair-trial rights would be compromised.

"If there is any hint of that occurring, the order granted by me can be easily varied."

Desai had granted Media24 permission to film proceedings to be livestreamed following an urgent application.

That ruling allowed two unmanned cameras in the courtroom, but excluded broadcast of exhibits, images and recordings of Henri’s sister Marli, after her legal representative Advocate Louise Buikman stressed the importance of shielding her from the media glare.

Desai said at the time that there was no real prospect of the trial being jeopardised.

Van Breda and the NDPP subsequently approached the Supreme Court of Appeal. 

Van Breda is facing three counts of murder, one of attempted murder, and one of obstructing the course 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.

Marli, 18, survived the attack, but sustained serious brain injuries and suffered amnesia.

Media24 was backing up its application to livestream the trial with section 16 of the Constitution, which guarantees certain rights to freedom of expression, freedom of the media, and the right to access to information.

* News24 is a wholly owned subsidiary of Media24.


Read more on:    van breda trial  |  van breda murders  |  media

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