Lying in the Sun

Is it Over for Pistorius

Is it Over for Pistorius?



Katy Katopodis chats to Firearm Law Attorney, Martin Hood about the decision to postpone proceedings by two weeks and whether this will have an effect on the trial.

http://oscartrial.dstv.com/video/100832/category/0


Katopodis:

It’s the State’s case that a cricket bat cannot sound like a gunshot and Gerrie Nel questioned the credibility of this test.  Joining me live in the studio now is attorney specialising in Gun Law, Martin Hood.  And remember if you have any question for Martin on law or on ballistics then  please tweet us ...

Martin Good Evening and welcome to channel 199 .   Now Alex (?)  was speaking to Derek (?) just before we saw that insert, and one of the questions Derek asked Alex is - Do you think this postponement of two weeks will have an effect on the trial.  Alex said he doesn’t believe to think so...but you have a different opinion? 

Hood:

I do, and it’s an opinion, let me make that clear, but if I was representing Oscar, after the evidence of today in particular, I would be reconsidering my position in a number of respects.

I would want to cut down on the number of witnesses that I would call to avoid a repetition of what happened today.  If you discredit an expert witness, it’s very damaging to your case.   So I'd want to avoid that possibility arising again.. 

And again, with respect to the professionals concerned, I would consider… reconsider... very strongly my position vis-à-vis, my 'not guilty plea.' 

Katopodis:

So do you think there could be discussion underway then between these two teams, Defence and Prosecution, trying to cut some sort of a deal?

Hood:

It’s often the case, it often happens that you do, you do have these types of discussions.  They tend to take place before a trial starts but they can take place during a trial, and the Criminal Procedures Act does, does provide for changing of a plea, if appropriate.  So that option is available to Pistorius’ legal team.

As I said, I can’t speak for them but I would... I would  certainly, if I were representing someone in a similar set of circumstances, I would consider approaching the Prosecution, and saying 'please let's try and talk about this and let’s see if we can come to some sort of arrangement.'   We never know.

Katopodis:

Let’s talk about the cross examination of Dr Dixon.  Gerrie Nel really going for Dr Dixon, both his credentials and his integrity.   At some point he even said to him 'let me be clear I am testing your integrity.'  Do you think that he’s damaged his integrity completely? 

Hood:

Well, I didn’t think that it could get any worse than when your principal witness, the accused, has their credibility so severely tested and attacked, But there is one thing worse, and that is to have your expert witness come along - who is supposed to be independent, an expert witness is supposed to come along and assist the Court in making a decision by virtue of their expertise.  And from the evidence today unfortunately the situation has got far worse for Oscar because the expert who came along to give evidence was discredited, I mean he didn’t read the documents.  His exclamation 'WHAT'  was telling in itself!

But he also was challenged directly by...  Gerrie Nel effectively said  'You are not being honest here, you are actually giving evidence of an expert nature WAY outside your area of expertise , that’s not evidence, that’s not good evidence.'  And Dixon was forced into a corner in that respect and his answers again with respect to him, they were evasive.

Katopodis: 

Because he was testifying on a whole… on a wide range of issues, everything from ballistics to blood spatter to sound to audio

Hood:

And clearly I would suggest, without knowledge in those areas ,and without having read the basic documentation that he was…that he was given prior to the trial he was challenging the results of the post mortem without...against the person who was actually there and performed the post mortem, that’s impossible Its impossible to challenge something where you don’t have as much knowledge as the person, who in this case, performed the post mortem, that’s impossible.

Katopodis:

In fact Gerrie Nel made those two exacts points, how irresponsible it is to make statements in areas where you are not an expert he said to him, on the one point.  And the other point when he exclaimed 'WHAT?' when reading that document.  Gerrie said 'Why come to the High Court (and he stressed the High Court)if you don’t even read the full document?' Basically telling him he hasn’t done his homework.

Hood:

Not only was the homework not done but it was clearly incredibly damaging to Pistorius’ case, I can’t stress how bad it is where you have an expert who is supposed to come and support a particular version does exactly the opposite because ts clear then that the version that has been put forward by the Defence in this case is not true. 

Katopodis:

But then Martin that begs the question -Why put Roger Dixon as your expert witness? 

Hood:

We can speculate. I think that it could have been a misunderstanding it could have been that Dixon himself took it upon himself to go and  exceed the parameters of his mandate.   There were issues about what his mandate was, when Gerrie Nel cross examined, cross examined  him. He was clearly unsure about what his mandate was, or it could be  a situation, and I stress 'could be' that there was a lack of experts who prepared to support a particular version, and I must tell you in this case the expert did not support the version put forward by the Defence, it’s that simple.

Katopodis:

Let’s go to some of the questions we’ve been receiving on twitter for you now Martin.

Question:

Was there any chance that someone could have escaped being hit by bullets in that toilet?

Hood:

I’m just going to express an opinion.  Having seen the actual construction in the Court, No!  Even if they’d not hit the person directly it’s a very confined space, it’s got tiles, hard materials those bullets would have ricocheted, someone would have been injured.

Next question now:

Can the Judge deem Dixon an invalid witness based on the lack of expertise?

Hood:

No, the Judge can just simply say 'I don’t accept that evidence' over the evidence for example, of the State evidence.  She’ll make a finding on the value of the evidence and she’ll say 'I don’t’ accept the evidence.'

END


l-azzeri-lies-in-the-sun.com
18th April 2014

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