The Senzo Meyiwa murder trial has been postponed to Wednesday, pending written submissions by the state. The court spent the entire day debating an application by the next witness in the trial.
The witness has raised concerns around her safety if her testimony is broadcast, calling for an order to ban all audio and visuals when she takes the stand.
Advocate Zandile Mshololo for Accused No. 5 says the witness is no stranger to media publicity, posting images of herself on social media as well as appearing on a Netflix documentary on the same trial.
Mshololo says the same witness published her images on Instagram which compromised the advocate’s personal security.
“The issue of personal safety has been presented by the state. If we were to consider the issue of personal safety for this witness in isolation. What about the personal safety of other people including myself? And I cannot make this submission without presenting those pictures before this court as self-evident.”
The media also made their own submissions, arguing that the matter is in the public’s interest considering that Meyiwa was a Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates football star.
Fierce debates ensued in court:
Media representative, Advocate Dan Rosengarten says, “My Lord my argument will proceed on the following basis. First, I will lay out certain principles and establish case law in relation to open justice as well as access via the electronic media to record the proceedings.”
“Therefore, I will proceed to answer some of the arguments made by the state regarding why they seek the order which prohibits or bring a total ban of evidence by the next witness.”
The defence lawyers also submitted that they were ambushed by the state regarding the application, as they were informed about it at the eleventh hour.
The state responded by saying the application was only made on Sunday night.
Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela has warned against this.
Maumela: “Going forward, we will not have time to wait for people.”
State Advocate George Baloyi: “My Lord the application was received last night … I think we all should learn from this.”
Advocate Charles Mnisi says without audio being broadcast, it infringes on the right to freedom of speech especially for the families of his client, and of the deceased who are following proceedings through the broadcast media.
The trial will resume on Wednesday.
The video below is reporting more on the story: