Oscar’s trial by media: the legalities

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What do President Jacob Zuma and Oscar Pistorius have in common?

In both their cases, the courts commented on the potentially harmful impact of publicity about the case on the administration of justice.

When judge Willem van der Merwe acquitted Zuma on a charge of rape in 2006, he said: “I have no problem with fair comment and the media’s duty to keep the public informed of important matters, especially the case we are dealing with at present. …What, however, is disconcerting, is the fact that some pressure groups, organisations and individuals found the accused guilty and others found him not guilty in their comments on the case, without knowing what the evidence is and long before all the evidence was presented.”

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