Ilse De Lange
1 minute read
4 Oct 2013
9:42 am

Court gives green light to ‘Joost & Amor’ book

Ilse De Lange

The North Gauteng High Court has dismissed an application by former rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen to stop the publication of a book about him and his estranged wife Amor Vittone.

Former Springbok rugby player Joost van der Westhuizen speaks with a legal representative in the North Gauteng High Court on 2 October 2013 where they submitted an urgent application to prevent the publication of a book about his marriage to Amor Vittone. Picture: Christine Vermooten

Van der Westhuizen took celebrity reporter Gavin Prins and publishers Random House Struik to court to stop Prins’ book titled Joost & Amor from being published, distributed and marketed.

He claimed it would violate his right to privacy,  dignity and life, as the stress of the publication would set back his health.

Van der Westhuizen suffers from the fatal illness motor neuron disease and is wheelchair bound.

Judge Bettelsmann found there was not proof that Van der Westhuizen’s health would suffer because of the publication.

He said Van der Westhuizen had himself shared the roller-coaster of his existence with the media and the public at large.

He still shared the details of his daily battle with his illness and his attempts to reach out to others suffering from the disease with others.

Given his celebrity status, he could not rely on the right to privacy.

The Judge said Van der Westhuizen was rightfully entitled to the respect and esteem flowing from his past achievements.

He deserved understanding and empathy for his situation and was to be admired for the way in which he was dealing with his illness.

He was however not entitled to prevent the publication of of the book, which was no doubt of significant importance for Prins and of fundamental importance to the right to freedom of expression, Judge Bertelsmann said.

 

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