Willem Breytenbach considers plea bargain rather than trial

Willem Breytenbach considers plea bargain rather than trial

A view of Willem Breytenbach outside Cape Town Regional Court.

A view of Willem Breytenbach outside Cape Town Regional Court.

Jaco Marais/Network24/Gallo Images

  • Former teacher and Media24 employee Willem Breytenbach has made a switch, and intends to enter plea and sentencing negotiations.
  • the sThe sexual assault charges faced by emanatee from podcast, My only story.
  • Breitenbach was arrested in December 2020.

Willem Breytenbach, a former Media24 employee and school teacher, may agree to a plea and sentencing deal rather than be prosecuted for sexual assault that spawned from Deon Wiggett’s podcast, My Only Story.

This means another delay in a case that has continued since his arrest in December 2020.

His attorney, JCD Geiger, indicated that Brainbach would enter negotiations for a potential plea bargain and sentencing deal.

“We will enter into negotiations with the state,” de Jager told News24 after Breitenbach’s brief court appearance.

The state will also send an officer from the Department of Corrective Services to interview Breytenbach and assess where he can be nominated for correctional supervision.

listen | My only story | A podcast series and a first-hand investigation into a sexual predator

The Corrective Services Officer will schedule an evaluation and compile a report.

This is expected to be ready by September 20 for Breitenbach’s next court appearance.

Details of Breytenbach’s potential bids to plead are confidential until disclosed in court.

The case has faced repeated delays and almost headed into another set of protests, when Breitenbach changed course and on Tuesday signaled his plan to begin plea negotiations.

In May, the state’s case was dealt a blow when four charges against him were successfully withdrawn for lack of exact dates.

De Jager argued that he could not be expected to count every day of a period of the year, which is the only time some complainants can pinpoint. This meant making an excuse for every day of every year mentioned in the charges.

Read | Sexual assault trial: The state’s case suffered a setback as four counts against Willem Breytenbach were withdrawn

The men were in their teens at the time of the crimes they accused him of.

Besides the delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, the postponements were in order for submissions to the Director of Public Prosecutions, requests for more details of the crimes he is accused of, and the successful removal of some charges.

Breytenbach was arrested on December 3, 2020 after allegations surfaced on Wiggett’s podcast. Other men also called Wiggett and the police to report it.

While starting broadcasting, Breytenbach packed up his life in Cape Town, closed up shop at his business, Lightspeed Digital Media, and headed home to his mother in Reebok in the Southern Cape.

He was finally tracked down and arrested.

The crimes allegedly occurred during his tenure as a teacher in some top schools in South Africa, and involved boys in the schools.

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