/ 13 April 2010

Court to hear media bid in Terre’Blanche trial

Court To Hear Media Bid In Terre'blanche Trial

The Ventersdorp Magistrate’s Court will on Wednesday hear the media’s arguments for access to the trial of the two people accused of killing right-winger Eugene Terre’Blanche, a law firm said.

“We are bringing an application for authorisation in terms of the Child Justice Act for the public and media to attend the proceedings, not only for the bail application on Wednesday, but the entire trial,” attorney Dario Milo of Webber Wentzel said on Tuesday.

The application would be heard at 9am on Wednesday before the actual murder case.

The firm was acting on behalf of Media 24, Independent Newspapers and the South African National Editors’ Forum.

Milo emphasised the identity of one of the accused, who is 15, would be protected at all times.

“However, the general principles of open justice demand that court proceedings be heard in public, and to exclude the media and public would be a disproportionate restriction on media freedom.”

If journalists were allowed access, the logistics would be debated in court as there was a huge media contingent covering the case and not everyone would be allowed in, he said.

“We are confident that the magistrate will exercise his discretion as to whether to allow access in accordance with constitutional values,” said Milo.

Terre’Blanche (69) was murdered on April 3 on his farm outside Ventersdorp in North West.

It was initially thought that a dispute over unpaid wages was behind the killing, but the Hawks confirmed they were investigating the possibility of a sex-crime.

The world’s media was again expected to converge outside the court on Wednesday morning when the pair, aged 15 and 28, would make their second appearance.

‘False information’
Meanwhile, the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) wants Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to stop intelligence agencies from spreading “false information” about the murder of Terre’Blanche.

AWB spokesperson Andre Visagie said on Monday the right-wing organisation would raise its concerns with Mthethwa over reports that Terre’Blanche had been involved in a homosexual relationship with his attackers before he was murdered on his farm last Saturday.

“We want to speak to the minister about this,” Visagie said. “We want him to stop the intelligence services from this … because they are starting a war. Our people are becoming more and more angry.”

Visagie said reports that Terre’Blanche had been involved in sodomy were “ridiculous” and an attempt to put off the thousands of new members that had been signing up to join the AWB since the murder.

“They are trying to create a bad perception about Mr Terre’Blanche, but all they are doing is making our people more and more angry,” he said.

“First there were reports that [this was a] racist murder and then there were reports that there was a pay dispute and now there are these allegations of sodomy.

“We want to know what is going on here.”

Mthethwa’s spokesperson, Zweli Mnisi, said a date for a meeting with the AWB was still to be set, but that it would possibly be held in the coming weeks. — Sapa