Willem Breytenbach's sexual assault trial delayed due to sick prosecutor, broken recording device

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Former media executive Willem Breytenbach appears in court.
Former media executive Willem Breytenbach appears in court.
PHOTO: Brenton Geach/Gallo Images, File
  • With a sick prosecutor and a broken recording device, Willem Breytenbach's case was delayed on Wednesday.
  • He had been hoping to hear whether some charges against him would be dropped. 
  • The case was postponed for a new prosecutor and court date.

Former teacher and journalist Willem Breytenbach's hopes of finding out whether some of the charges against him will be scrapped were dashed on Wednesday. 

Breytenbach faces 14 charges of either indecent assault or sexual assault, but he wants some of the charges dropped. 

The prosecutor in the case is booked off sick until June and the recording device at the Regional Court complex did not work. 

Thus the matter was postponed to 29 March, for a new prosecutor to be allocated and a new date for the judgment to be set.

Breytenbach applied to have 11 charges dismissed, as the time frame of the charges did not specify dates.

ALSO READ | Former teacher at elite Cape Town boys' school faces sex crimes claims in SA, UK

His counsel argued that without specific dates for the allegations, he would have to get alibis for every day of every year cited to defend himself. 

Breytenbach was arrested in 2019, after podcaster Deon Wiggett made allegations against him in the My Only Story investigation.

Wiggett's story encouraged others with similar allegations to lodge complaints with the police. 

After an investigation, Breytenbach was charged with 14 cases of indecent assault or sexual assault, and it is some of these charges that he wants dropped. 

The court heard that Breytenbach had wasted a trip from out of town, and an overnight stay, because of the delay.

READ | Operation Nemo: 'Culture of secrecy' puts athletes at risk of abuse at elite schools

His was not the only case affected. A man who expected to go on trial on Wednesday heard that his Legal Aid lawyer was also off sick. 

He begged the magistrate to find somebody else for his trial so that he could leave Pollsmoor Prison if not guilty. 

The witness in that case stepped forward and said she absolutely wanted nothing more to do with the case.

"My family hates me. I thought I was doing the right thing," the distressed woman said before leaving.

That matter was also postponed.

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