In the Pretoria High Court Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), represented by the Centre for Child Law (CCL) submitted its application in the Eugene Terreblanche murder trial, seeking to rescind elements of a court order, granting limited access to members of the Terreblanche family and the public.
As one of the accused is a minor, the Eugene Terreblance murder trial constitutes a “child justice court” under the terms of the Child Justice Act that came into place in April 2010. In normal circumstances only those deemed necessary for the trial may be permitted access to the court, and this would exclude the media, members of the public, and members of a victim’s family from attending.
In this instance however, MMA accepted that the public interest requires limited media access, so long as the child accused is adequately protected. On December 2, 2010, following submissions by MMA to this effect, a court order was issued allowing limited access to 16 named journalists.
However, despite the fact that no formal application had been made on behalf of the Terreblanche family or the public, the order also provided for limited access for four members of the Terreblanche family and 16 members of the public.
MMA is seeking to have these provisions relating to family and public access rescinded because they:
– infringe on the rights of the child;
– risk creating a dangerous precedent and
– occurred in the absence of any formal application
In Pretoria the High Court today [April 7] allowed the Terrblanche family to join proceedings in order to make an application opposing MMA’s request. The matter has been postponed. Counsel for MMA is also in consultations with legal representatives from all sides.