The Pistorious Trial – Who Are The Lawyers?

The Pistorious Trial - Who Are The Lawyers? 2

The Oscar Pistorious trial will screen globally, albeit with limitations, with the judge saying there would be three cameras filming the trial of the paralympian accused of shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The filming was agreed to after South African media requested a live audio recording and video footage of the opening and closing arguments and expert testimony.  Not to mention the final judgment.  The trial is set to start next Monday.

However, Pistorius’ own evidence and that of witnesses will not be filmed.

But who are the chief legal protagonists in this legal and crime drama

The main legal players:

High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa, 66, may have a lesser profile than the prosecutors, having been appointed a judge in 1998 and being the second black woman to be admitted to the bench.

Masipa studied law in her 40s. Before that she reported on apartheid injustices as a crime journalist, and also was a social worker.

In a decade and a half on the bench, she has presided over criminal cases involving rape and murder, and has spoken out strongly about violence against women.

She handed down a 252-year prison sentence to a serial rapist last year, and has been outspoken against the government’s rights and responsibilities towards ordinary South Africans.

Gerrie Nel will lead the prosecution and he appears as a well known lawyer who has frequently prosecuted public officials and others fearlessly.

He is most famous for sending to jail ex-Interpol president and South Africa’s former police chief Jackie Selebi, proving he had taken bribes from an organised crime network.

The prosecution won him an award from the International Association of Prosecutors, but he has not always emerged unscathed from his tangles with power .

In 2008, at the height of the Selebi controversy, Nel was arrested by armed police but the various charges of fraud, perjury and “defeating the ends of justice” were eventually dropped, with commentators claiming a politically inspired attempt to discredit him.

His elite investigations unit, the Scorpions, was later disbanded amid allegations it was pursuing graft and other charges against now President Jacob Zuma with politically motivated zeal.

For the Defence

Defence advocate Barry Roux emerged as the star lawyer in Pistorius’s bail application last year with his relentless questioning of police investigator Hilton Botha during the bail application, which seriously dented the state’s case against his client.

Under Roux’s cross examination, the investigating officer was reduced to a bumbling amateur, as he struggled to provide sufficient forensic evidence on the circumstances of the shooting.

With 31 years experience in the legal fraternity, Roux, has taken on some of the most controversial cases in South Africa. 


The Pistorious case has galvanised South Africa, as it has much of the rest of the world and the coming together of major legal antagonists, as well as a true murder mystery, well soon be played out – in part – on television screens globally.







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