/ 14 April 2010

Media allowed into Terre’Blanche case

Media Allowed Into Terre'blanche Case

The media will be allowed access to the bail application of the 28-year-old man accused of killing right-wing leader Eugene Terre’Blanche, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Wednesday.

“In respect of the bail application of accused number one [Chris Mahlangu], you will be allowed in,” NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga told reporters outside the Ventersdorp Magistrate’s Court.

This was because the 15-year-old, who was entitled to have a closed court in terms of the law, had abandoned his intention to apply for bail.

“I can’t disclose why the minor abandoned it, ” said Mhaga.

“The hearing of the minor is under way and we will have to see what happens and then we will determine how his case is dealt with in terms of the new Child Justice Act. It is the first case to take place under this Act.”

After his private preliminary hearing, the youth would be taken back to a place of safety.

When he had left, the public and reporters would be allowed into the court to cover Mahlangu’s hearing.

However, the court could only accommodate about five reporters.

As a result of the youth’s decision, and the opening of the Mahlangu portion of the bail application — e.tv, Media24, Independent Newspapers and the SA National Editors’ Forum — who had intended making a special application to have the case heard in open court, abandoned their intended application.

Regarding suggestions that the trial be separated to enable some media coverage, Mhaga said that would be dealt with at a later stage.

Earlier, the boy’s lawyer told journalists that he had settled in well at the place of safety, and had been sleeping on a bed for the first time in his life.

The two accused face four charges — murder, house breaking and robbery with aggravating circumstances, crimen injuria and attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances — after Terre’Blanche was found dead in his bed on Easter Saturday.

‘I have never discussed my defence’
Meanwhile, the lawyer for the 15-year-old said on Wednesday he had not discussed his case with the media.

Zola Majavu said on Wednesday morning that he would not speculate about his client’s case in the media and that he had never done so.

“I have never discussed my defence for the minor and all along I’ve never told any reporter what it was,” Majavu said.

“I am not aware of any relationship between him [his client] and the deceased.”

There have been rumours since Terre’Blanche’s death, including the claim that his two alleged killers were sexually abused by him.

Puna Moroko, who is representing Mahlangu, also denied in a newspaper report on Wednesday that sex had played a role in the case.

“It was a man-to-man fight over money,” Moroko told Beeld.

“Politics had nothing to do with this. The rumours about the condom and sodomy also had nothing to do with this case. This was two guys arguing over money.” – Sapa