Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann on Wednesday reserved judgment until this morning in Van der Westhuizen’s urgent application to stop former celebrity journalist Gavin Prins and publishers Random House Struik from printing, publishing, distributing and marketing Prins’s book tilted Joost & Amor.
Van der Westhuizen, who suffers from motor neurone disease and is wheelchair-bound, maintained the unauthorised book dissecting his private life would harm his health and “cause him endless agony”.
“I cringe that the thought of the marketing hype that is going to be created around this book and the battering my family and I will once again have to endure.
“…I know that after I have passed away, (they) will be able to publish anything that they want due to the fact that my personal rights will then have ceased to exist,” he said in court papers.
Prins maintained the celebrity couple continuously courted the media and could not now rely on their right to privacy. During legal argument, Judge Bertelsmann repeatedly wanted to know if there was any allegation that the book contained lies or information that was not already public knowledge.
“If the book were to be published without any reference to the applicant’s human frailties, all the public will know is that he’s a family man… who has to cope with a dreadful disease and participates in events (to draw attention to his disease) and gives back to society.
“All of that is already in the public domain… Do the rules of protection of privacy apply to this type of public persona,” Bertelsman asked.
Van der Westhuizen’s advocate said he was still entitled to privacy even though he was a public persona. His client could not comment on the truth of information in the book because Prins refused to give him a copy, he said.