Judge Brian Spilg on Friday morning lifted the ban on the publication of visual material that shows Tigon accused Gary Porritt lying on the court floor on Thursday, allegedly too sick to sit on a chair.
Porritt and co-accused Sue Bennett are on trial for more than 3 000 counts of fraud and other financial crimes relating to the collapse of JSE-listed investment company Tigon around 2002.
Porritt’s bail was provisionally revoked on Monday after he failed to appear in court, claiming illness. He has, however, been discharged from several hospitals in the immediate past.
On Thursday, Moneyweb took pictures and video footage of Porritt with Bennett and candidate attorney Casper Badenhorst assisting him to get up from the floor before the court proceedings started. The video does not show how he immediately slumped onto the desk in front of him and within seconds, sort of fell sideways and hung in the chair.
The video material also shows Bennett interacting with Porritt during an adjournment. She gave him water as he was lying on the floor. During the following court session he was, according to his legal representative, feeling so sick that he stayed on the floor. It is normally expected of anybody in court to behave with decorum and stand when addressing the court or when being addressed.
The lifting of the ban follows after Porritt and Bennett both failed to bring an application to prohibit Moneyweb from taking pictures and videos when the court is not in session. They also withdrew their earlier objections.
Moneyweb’s legal team consisting of attorney Willem de Klerk and advocate Ben Wincks were ready to argue that the public interest in the matter is overwhelming, but in the end no argument was necessary.
The court inquiry into Porritt’s absence from the court on two occasions will continue on Friday and Moneyweb will report on proceedings later.
Even before court proceedings started, it was clear that Porritt’s conditions seemingly improved dramatically from Thursday to Friday. He was brought into court by police, and was able to walk without assistance, but was shackled. He looked fairly alert and interacted with advocate Annelene van den Heever, who represents him in the inquiry into his failure to attend court.
Porritt did not testify on Friday as earlier expected. The state and his legal representative came to an agreement that he will remain in detention at the Johannesburg Central police station until Tuesday when the case will resume. If an appointment can be arranged for him with a neurologist or other medical practitioner, the police will take him to Milpark hospital for the appointment.
The agreement was made an order of the court.