Murder accused fails to stop media reporting bail application
A man accused of murdering his girlfriend and possibly her unborn child failed on Thursday in an attempt to stop the media covering his bail application.
Jaco Oosthuizen’s lawyer‚ Arthur Olsen‚ told the Paarl Magistrate’s Court his client was “afraid” of the media based on their “previous conduct”.
But State advocate Nathan Johnson said it was social media that was to blame for a great deal of misinformation and speculation. “Bar the media and you will have worse speculation. You don't find anyone guilty on what a reporter has said.”
Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions Katrien Breytenbach said media blackouts were permitted only in special circumstances‚ such as to protect the lives of witnesses in gang cases.
In February‚ The Times reported that Oosthuizen‚ 33‚ was also being charged with attempted murder because an incision was found on the lower abdomen of his pregnant girlfriend‚ Nicola Pienaar-Vice.
The 28-year-old was reported missing by her mother‚ Marlaine Pienaar‚ on January 5. It is believed she was killed on January 6. Oosthuizen was arrested in his girlfriend's car in Port Elizabeth on January 22‚ and he allegedly took police to his parents’ backyard in Paarl where she was buried.
Oosthuizen said the media had incorrectly reported that she was pregnant and that he had confessed to the crime.
Olsen also wanted magistrate Dianne Blaauw to rule that the media may not report personal information of any of the witnesses because they would be ostracised by the Paarl community.
Olsen said false reporting by the media would affect court proceedings and could infringe his client's right to a fair trial.
Blaauw responded: “It would only impact if the court goes on newspaper articles to make a decision.”