Combative prosecutor makes mark in Pistorius trial

Apr 14 2014, 16:07 IST
Comments 0
SummaryProsecutor Gerrie Nel fired another tough question at murder suspect Oscar Pistorius.

loses his temper with his students.

Pistorius' murder trial is being broadcast on television. While Pistorius is not shown on the screen during his testimony, viewers have watched Nel browbeat the once globally admired figure who reached a pinnacle when he ran in the London Olympics in 2012. Pistorius, who has been free on bail for the last year, could be jailed for 25 years to life if convicted of premeditated murder and also faces three separate, gun-related charges.

"You will blame anybody but yourself,'' Nel told Pistorius last week in an attack on the character of the athlete. It was an attempt to shred the defense's presentation of its client as humble, responsible and loving toward the woman he killed. At one point, Nel laughed derisively at one of a number of answers from Pistorius that he described as evasive or contradictory, or downright false, prompting Judge Thokozile Masipa to reprimand the prosecutor for the outburst.

On another occasion, Masipa cautioned Nel to "mind your language'' for accusing the athlete of lying.

In 2008, Nel was arrested in what his backers said was an attempt to interfere with the case against Selebi, the former police chief, but he was soon cleared. Nel was also head of the regional branch of the Scorpions, a crime-fighting unit that was later disbanded in a decision that raised concern about the independence of law enforcement from politics. He was a prosecutor in a case leading to the convictions of two men for the 1993 killing of Chris Hani, an anti-apartheid leader whose death stirred fears of racial violence as South Africa transitioned from white rule to an all-race democracy.

Surrounded by security, Pistorius daily leaves the Pretoria court to fend his way through a crush of press and bystanders. On a recent afternoon, Nel left the court quietly, unassuming in a dark suit and open-necked shirt. Despite his newfound celebrity status, he walked across the street, almost unnoticed. 

Single Page Format
Ads by Google

More from World News

Reader´s Comments
| Post a Comment
Please Wait while comments are loading...