1 minute read
7 Nov 2013
4:45 pm

Griekwastad trial remains open to media

The Griekwastad farm murder trial will remain open to the media despite a request that "upsetting" details not be made public, the presiding judge ruled Today.

Image courtesy Paul Brechbuhler /Freerangestock.com

“There is no sound reason to recall my previous order or to amend it. That order stands,” said Judge Frans Kgomo in the Kimberley High Court.

At the start of trial, Kgomo ruled that the media could be present at the trial, but that the 17-year-old youth accused of the three murders could not be identified.

Prosecutor Hannes Cloete earlier requested that the media be excluded from part of the day’s proceedings.

He said he had an obligation as an officer of the court to request that the details of the attack on Northern Cape farmer Deon Steenkamp, 44, his wife Christelle, 43, and daughter Marthella, 14, not be made public.

“The effect of the evidence will be far-reaching for their family and friends,” said Cloete.

The details of the evidence would “seriously upset” them.

Defence lawyer Willem Coetzee agreed, describing it as a “moral request” to the court.

But Kgomo ruled that the media be allowed to be present, saying he would give reasons for his decision at a later stage.

He warned journalists covering the trial not to breach the court’s agreement to name the boy, even in their private capacities.

“You, as the fourth estate. Nowadays it is very easy to send to the world information and images, sometimes to friends, knowing that this would not be part of the report that you do.

“If the media even in private break the order and send images or messages to friends and family that would breach the court’s agreement, we would ask the officer of the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] to investigate a contempt of court [charge].”

The Steenkamp family was shot on their farm Naauwhoek on April 6, 2012.

The teenager also faces a charge of rape and defeating the ends of justice.