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Judge dismisses Van Breda broadcast case

Crime & Courts
Cape Town - The case in which Media24 seeks to broadcast the murder trial of Henri van Breda could be headed to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

On Thursday Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai dismissed an application for leave to appeal brought by Van Breda’s legal counsel and the National Prosecuting Authority(NPA).

The 22-year-old Stellenbosch man is accused of murdering his father, mother and older brother at their De Zalze Estate home in January 2015.

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Triple murder accused Henri van Breda's trial kicked off at the Western Cape High Court. File picture: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Media

His sister Marli survived the attack.

Van Breda’s counsel argued that broadcasting the trial, which starts on April 24, would jeopardise the client’s right to a fair hearing.

The NPA argued that some witnesses had indicated that they would not want to be subjected to live cameras in the courtroom, which might inhibit their testimony.

In his ruling, Judge Desai commended Hilton Epstein SC, appearing for the State, for meticulously highlighting the possible adverse effects of the trial being broadcast, especially the testimony of a particular witness.

“He does not, and cannot, say that it would occur in this instance. There is no evidence to support this,” wrote Judge Desai.

Francois van Zyl, appearing for Van Breda, also argued that the presence of live cameras inside the court could affect witnesses on the stand.

But in his reasons, the judge wrote: “It seems to me that in the modern era of rapidly increasing methods of mass communication, to decline this order would be inconsistent with the current and, certainly, future reality.”

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Cape Times

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