Tag Archives: Oscar Pistorius Trial

Oscar Pistorius Trial: Gerrie Nel

<img src="Gerrie Nel.jpg" alt="Gerrie Nel" width="150" height="85">

Gerrie Nel – South African State Prosecutor

Gerrie Nel is a South African State Prosecutor and Advocate for The National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa. He has served as a former head of the Directorate of Special Operations, also known as the Scorpions, in Gauteng. Nel successfully prosecuted former police commissioner Jackie Selebi, who was found guilty of corruption and handed a 15-year prison sentence.

PROFESSIONAL DETAILS

CURRENT POSITION

Advocate | The National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa

Law Practice and Legal Services

PREVIOUS POSITION

Head | Directorate of Special Operations 2008

Government, Public Administration and Defence

ACHIEVEMENTS/AWARDS

Society of State Advocates’ Prosecutor of the Year | 2012 for his work on the Jackie Selebi case

International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) Special Achievement Award | 2012 for his work on the Jackie Selebi case

Opinions of Gerrie Nel’s conduct in court

Advocate Gerrie Nel is perceived in various ways for his questioning of the alleged murderer of Reeva Steenkamp, Oscar Pistorius the para-limpic blade-runner.

Here are some twitter remarks:

• Fascinating cross-examination

• Advocate Gerrie Nell is tearing Oscar Pistorius apart and he is excellently good at it.

• the “pitbull” Gerrie Nel

• At his fierce style the Athlete has broken down

• In the legal fraternity Gerrie Nel has a fearsome reputation, cemented (though established) well before he shredded former police commissioner Jackie Selebi in the witness box.

• Gerrie Nel could get Shrien Dewani to admit to killing Reeva.

• Gerrie Nel took his bitchslap pills this morning.

• He is not going to be nice. Known as a Rottweiler.

• Cross-examination by determined and well-prepared prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

• Gerrie Nel in full flight already, going for the jugular. Tone is harsh and abrasive. Oscar is already struggling….

• Gerrie Nel is going to bulldoze Oscar and it’s going to be heart wrenching….

• If anyone thought Barry Roux was aggressive in cross-examination, he was nothing compared to Gerrie Nel when he gets going.

Some of Nel’s comments that will be well remembered

• “You made a mistake? You killed a person. You killed Reeva Steenkamp. Say it.”

• He asked the athlete to “take responsibility” for killing her. “It’s time that you look at it,” chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel said, setting the stage for a rigorous first day of cross-examination.

• Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told Oscar Pistorius “I’m not going away” as he picked through the disabled runner’s evidence and accused him of lying.

• ‘Then say it then, say yes. I shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp’

• When a police photograph of a dead Reeva Steenkamp’s bloodied head was displayed in court, Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said Steenkamp’s head “exploded” when it was struck by one of four hollow-point bullets

• ‘You killed her. Say it.’

• ‘You just can’t take responsibility for anything, can you?’

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Photo: Courtesy of: news.howzit.msn.com

Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial Latest

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Oscar Pistorius Murder Case Continues

If found guilty Oscar Pistorius is potentially facing  life in prison. The defense opened its case by calling a pathologist to try and cast doubt on the prosecution’s declaration that Reeva ate only two hours before Oscar killed her.

The testimony of forensic pathologist Prof. Jan Botha is critical to the defense, as Pistorius declared they were in bed by 10 p.m. and any contradiction of that fact could dwindle the credibility of his description of the events. The prosecution claims Oscar intentionally killed Reeva Steenkamp after an argument.

Prof. Jan Botha is a valuable witness as he has done many thousands of autopsies in his career, of which at least 5000 involved gun shot killings. He declared that it is almost impossible to prove when last Reeva had something to eat before the incident. Also that she would not have been able to call out if the shots were fired in quick succession.

Questions for Oscar Pistorius that will dictate the case of the defense

Why did he shoot?

Pistorius must prove he acted legally in self-defense when he fired. Gerrie Nel, chief prosecutor, is expected to ask him tough but simple questions.

The prosecution made Pistorius appear to be trigger happy. Defense needs to show Pistorius was a careful gun owner but had good reason to feel at risk. Pistorius will have to convince why he thought he was truly in danger.

Will Pistorius keep his composure?

Oscar Pistorius has displayed varied emotional reactions. From hanging his head to crying, vomiting, turning red, staring intently at the proceedings, and scribbling notes to his lawyer.

His behavior on the stand could speak volumes.

Can the prosecution match the defense?

Barry Roux, Oscar’s lawyer, has asked each witness some twisted, grueling and intricate questions. Some witnesses were tripped, causing doubt to their memories of the incident. Nel will now be able to unravel Pistorius’ declarations.

Did police botch the investigation?

The South African Police was embarrassed by how some officers handled the crime scene in this trial. Evidence was moved and a watch may have been stolen. The case will not be dismissed because of these mistakes, but it may affect the outcome.

What will the judge do?

The biggest question is what Judge Thokozile Masipa is thinking of the facts and Oscar’s conduct thus far? Masipa alone will decide Pistorius’ fate. Up to now Masipa and her two assessors have quietly observed.

 

 

.Photo Courtesy of: gosouthonline.co.za

Oscar Pistorius Trial Latest: Blerry Rude, the Cop and the Cricket Bat

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Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius Trial: Open the Door

After Day 8 of the Oscar Pistorius Trial, a few very important questions and vital issues come to mind and tend to linger. These issues include Oscar’s cricket bat and whether he hit the bathroom door with or without wearing his prosthetic legs. An accurate replica  (allegedly the original) of the door was brought into court for a physical demonstration regarding the marks on the original door in an attempt to clarify the situation concerning discrepancies pertaining to the testimony of Pistorius and forensic evidence.

Oscar stated in his affidavit that he hit the door with his artificial legs on. Prosecution (Gerrie Nel), states that detail (forensic evidence) as regards the marks on the door is consistent with somebody hitting the door at a lower height – they therefore want to prove that Oscar’s version of the events is not entirely truthful. The mission of Oscar’s defense is to prove that it is/was not possible for him to hit the door hard enough to damage it with a bat when he was not wearing his prosthetic legs.

Keep in mind that Pistorius was in peak physical condition at the time when Reeva Steenkamp was tragically killed in the early morning hours of Valentine’s Day 2013. As all professional athletes, Oscar has strong, finely tuned and developed abdominal,  gluteus maximus (buttocks) and thigh muscles. When walking without his prosthetic legs, these muscle groups in particular, should aid him in keeping his balance. It may therefore be safe to assume that Oscar would be better equipped to balance himself on his stumps than for instance, a middle-aged, mildly overweight man trying to balance himself for the first time on his knees with his feet lifted up.

Barry Roux, the lawyer for the defense, requested Lieutenant Colonel Johannes Vermeulen, a senior officer at the forensic science laboratory, to stand on his knees and to hit the door with the famed cricket bat. Vermeulen complied, whereafter Roux asked Vermeulen to lift his feet. Vermeulen told the court that he had difficulty in keeping his balance.  Pistorius kept his head down during the entire procedure and appeared to be busy making notes.

Still, whatever the circumstances – Oscar may not not have experienced the same difficulty as Vermeulen under similar circumstances. He may have had it easier.  Another vitally important point to consider is that Pistorius has had his entire life to master balancing and walking on his stumps.

Vermeulen is clearly not in the same toned physical condition as Oscar Pistorius. However, Lt Col Vermeulen has more than 29 years experience regarding scientific analysis, having completed about 1400 forensic investigations in this period of time. He handled his testimony well and did not appear too frazzled by Barry Roux, or Blerry Rude, as the defense lawyer is now nicknamed across the internet.

Oscar Pistorius Affidavit

Another confusing issue is the fact that Pistorius stated in his affidavit that: “I woke up, went onto the balcony to bring the fan in and closed the sliding doors, the blinds and curtains.”

Would all the noise in the quiet of night not have awoken Reeva and caused her to say something or ask him what he was doing? The tall fan should have made a noise on the balcony tiles as he dragged it in. If he did not drag the fan, but carried it – he clearly has no problem with balancing on his stumps.

At that stage, before the curtains were closed, it would not have been pitch dark inside the room and he could have noticed that Reeva was not in the bed, couldn’t he?

 Pistorius further states: “I grabbed my 9mm pistol from underneath my bed. On my way to the bathroom I screamed words to the effect for him/them to get out of my house and for Reeva to phone the police. It was pitch dark in the bedroom and I thought Reeva was in bed.”

Why did he not listen for her reply? Why did he not listen for any sound from her? If he was genuinely concerned for her safety, would he not first have woken her and told her to leave the room?

Fact to ponder 1:

If he screamed before he fired the shots, would Reeva not have screamed herself, or would she not at least have made a sound?

Fact to ponder 2:

Oscar also states in his affidavit:  “I went back into the bedroom and grabbed my cricket bat to bash open the toilet door. A panel or panels broke off and I found the key on the floor and unlocked and opened the door.”

Why did Reeva lock the toilet door from the inside? Was she scared? Did she want to punish Oscar after a fight? Who on earth locks the toilet door in the middle of the night – especially if your partner is fast asleep?

Fact to ponder 3:

Is it just me, but why was the cricket bat in the bedroom? Why wasn’t it kept with his other sporting paraphernalia, memorabilia and stuff?

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More about Oscar Pistorius:

Oscar Pistorius: A Look at his Life
Oscar Pistorius: Behind the Glitz & Glamour

 

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Ref:

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2014/03/12/the-oscar-pistorius-murder-trial-day-8

For the Full Oscar Pistorius Affidavit, view:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/19/world/africa/south-africa-pistorius-affadavit/