Cape Town - Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha has welcomed the Supreme Court of Appeal's judgment on the appeal lodged by the State against Media24’s live streaming of Henri van Breda’s ongoing murder trial.
The appeal was lodged by the National Director of Public Prosecutions against a Western Cape High Court judgment, allowing the media covering the trial to take photographs before trial and during adjournments.
The Supreme Court of Appeal on Thursday ruled that a request to broadcast a criminal case should be decided by the trial court on a case-by-case basis after a proper application has been brought before it.
“The minister welcomes the balancing act demonstrated by the SCA in terms of a right to a fair trial versus media freedom and the right to know, as well as the jurisprudence it sought to establish through this judgment,” Masutha's spokesperson, Mthunzi Mhaga, said.
Mhaga said the appeal had been brought to protect witnesses testifying on criminal matters, allowing them to give evidence in a manner free from any scrutiny that may arise due to a live broadcast of their testimony.
“The court ruled that careful consideration must be given to the objection of an accused to the presence of cameras in the courtroom, striking a constitutionally appropriate balance between policies favouring public access to court proceedings and the accused’s right to a fair trial and ensuring that such fair trial rights are not prejudiced,” said Mhaga.
Van Breda is accused of killing his parents Martin and Teresa and his brother Rudi in 2015.
High Court Judge Siraj Desai in April ruled that video clips of Van Breda's trial may be broadcast, with an exception that his sister Marli’s testimony be note-recorded (written comments only).