Lying in the Sun

Brunt Pissed off by Nel?

Brunt Pissed of by Gerrie Nel?

Nothing funnier than the interview by the Sky Team at the end of tonight's update on the Pistorius trial.

Seems the public have been writing telling them they are biased in their reporting of the case, and seems it has hit a nerve, as part of the time dedicated to discuss the trial was spent with Jeremy Thomson posing Alex Crawford pre- arranged questions in response to the accusations against them that they were biased, and allowing Crawford opportunity to respond and defend their reporting.  

Alex Crawford looked as though she was about to bless!

And Martin Brunt...oh lordy, lordy, it just wasn't cricket Nel was playing according to Brunty...NO Martin it wasn't - he was playing hard ball and that is what it takes when a Prosecutor is dealing with someone like Pistorius.

Seems Martin Brunt never heard the comments, the aggressive and argumentative nature of Pistorius when on the Stand - he heard only Gerrie Nel.

Seems too that Martin Brunt missed Barry Roux, when cross examining the Prosecution witnesses being equally as forthright as Gerrie Nel.

And it came as no surprise to hear him say 'this wouldn't be allowed in the UK'  How hilarious is that.    You are not in the UK Martin!

And how wonderful to hear the SA Attorney, Martin Hood, almost laugh Brunt off the street, and tell him that he, Martin Hood,  has no difficulty with Gerrie Nel, that he himself is a Defence Attorney and would do exactly the same if a witness was not telling the truth if the witness was not disclosing something or not behaving properly.

And that, Martin Brunt, is why Gerrie Nel cross examined as he did, he was dealing with two witnesses, Oscar  Pistorius and Roger Dixon who were

  • not being truthful, 
  • were not behaving properly, 
  • not disclosing matters which they should have done

And that is why the evidence of both was easily discredited by the Prosecutor Gerrie Nel.  Not good evidence as they say in S. African Law Courts.

What was it the Sky reporter's were saying about not being biased..?

Brunt said he thinks we've all been astonished by the way Gerrie Nel cross examined of how he taunted Pistorius.

Actually Brunty, I think the majority were not astonished but applauded the skill of  Prosecutor Gerrie Nel for the way in which he cross examined Pistorius, not allowing him to slip through the net, much as Pistorius tried.   Equally with the lying and evasive Roger 'the dodger' Dixon,the non Expert Witness, who had the audacity to appear in Court and try to pass himself off as some sort of Expert, he just wasn't sure which type he was trying to be...Nel nailed him as he should have done.

If Nel had not, he would not have been doing his job...properly!

Man up Brunty - if you can't stand the heat - get out of the Court Room!

When it comes to opinion on the case, I think I'll stick with Martin...Martin Hood, that is, the SA Attorney!

Brunt also said in response to Thomson, Sky News, pointing out that the Prosecution had 'created doubt' in the Pistorius story - that it was "a slight problem?"

Why would Brunt describe this as a slight problem, as though dismissing all the Nel had done...bias?

Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps...

Alex Crawford speaking of Pistorius after his cross examination was over:

His demeanor showed, the expression on his face everything about him his whole body language was like, that it was a very very grueling five days he had, and I’m sure…well when it wrapped up... he must have been enormously relieved.  His family collapsed.  You know his sister Aimee sort of collapsed in tears and was…had to be comforted for many minutes after he left the witness box.  And I think it has been very very tough for the Pistorius family as indeed it must have been incredibly tough for Reeeva Steenkamp’s mother and friends who gathered in Court every day.  June Steenkamp  has had to listen to very graphic details about the wounds that her daughter suffered. And each time a friend next to her, or a relative next to her, taps her so that she keeps her head down and doesn’t have to look at the images, and then she is tapped again, and raises her head again.  So I think it has taken its toll on both families and all the associated friends.

J. Thomson Sky,

You had a chance at the end of the session this week to have a quick word with Mr Pistorius   How did he seem?


First of all the overriding impression is that he was absolutely exhausted he looked like a man who had been through the mill which is exactly what he has been through, his eyes are very red, he is very pale, he’s got dark shadows under his eyes.  When I went up to him he sort of jumped to attention out of his seat.  He’s always been quite courteous with all the reporters whenever we’ve talked to him or said anything to him.  And he obviously, he indicated that he’d obviously been following the television coverage of it because he mentioned he’d been following it.


Martin Brunt, we’ve started to get I guess a feel of the Defence case but it’s not been an easy ride once they’ve been handed over to the Prosecutor.


I think we’ve all been astonished by the way Gerrie Nel the Prosecutor  has gone at them in cross examination.    I mean up until the start of the Defence case we didn’t really know how he was going to perform.  The star I think of the first couple of weeks was Barry Roux because he was having the chance to cross examine the witnesses, then it was Gerrie Nel's chance, and as I said before I was quite astonished about how confrontational he was, and when I think back on all the trials I’ve covered in the UK I don’t believe that I’ve heard, particularly a Prosecution being... taunting a witness in the way he does.  Well not just one of the witness, but all three of them.   I don’t think you’d be allowed to get away with that in a UK Court.  But he’s taunted in particular Oscar Pistorius and I think that was born out of this central theme that he was in denial.  He would not confront what he had done according to the Prosecutor, and I think that’s what led to that approach by the Prosecutor.  But they’ve all had a very tough time so far and we’ve only had…what three Defence witnesses to be given that kind of treatment, and there may be another dozen of them.


Well lets get a thought from Martin Hood here.  Firstly, judging by what Martin Brunt was saying here, British Law is a bit soft in comparison with this rather adversarial type of approach by Mr Nel.  Is it pretty typical?

Martin Hood

I think it is.  I’m a Defence Attorney and I have no difficulties in tearing into a witness if I believe that witness has not been truthful or if they haven’t disclosed something or acted properly.  The Judge or the Magistrate is always there to act as the referee and the fact that the Judge in this case has not intervened very often at all shows that, it is in my view it’s the norm.  I have no difficulty with Gerrie Nel and I think Gerrie Nel has made a lot of headway in the way that he has cross examined he comes across very firm. –‘don’t give me a hard time, answer the question’ attitude.  And people haven’t been able to stand up to it and we can see the results.

You talk about his case, Oscar’s case unfolding, I’m inclined to think it’s unravelling, because even if we take the current expert, Dixon- the purpose of an expert we must remember is to assist the Court with independent evidence to come to the truth – and we have a situation where in a normal trial so to speak you might have one expert who is completely in conflict with another expert for the Defence.  Here we had two experts, we have two opinions, one of which is not really credible at all.  And that ironically is going to assist the Court in getting to the truth of the matter because it makes the Prosecution version more probable.  So ironically Dixon has helped this case although it doesn’t look like its helped Pistorius.


In the end all the Defence has got to do is cast some doubt and was there not some doubt raised there in the days of the Defence witnesses?


Yeah Undoubtedly I think that is a slight problem.  I mean The one thing that we haven’t really heard from the Prosecution is any evidence of motive.  I mean I think Gerrie Nel has put together a good case based on the circumstantial evidence on the basis, well it could only have been an argument and you chased her, chased Reeva to the toilet, and then you shot her with your anger, but nobody can be really sure of that.   Of course the Prosecution doesn’t have to prove a motive but it’s very helpful if you can.


It’s an interesting thing for us journalists to try and sort of balance out trials because you can tell from the viewers’ writing in that they sometimes think we’re biased, jumping on one side or the other and yet there is an ebb and flow in Courts you hear the Prosecution you hear the Defence then you hear the cross examination, so it does have this sort of rhythm of ebb and flow doesn’t it?


It definitely does and I think everyone who is covering the trial might take comfort from the fact that we’re called biased against Oscar Pistorius at the beginning when the Prosecution is laying their case and now we’re being described bias now that we’re hearing the Defence.   I think for instance Sky News has managed to produce evidence which has been used by both the Defence and the Prosecution, two separate bits of video, one was used by the Defence to outline their case. Another one was used by the Prosecution for their case.  It’s a difficult line to tread for journalists but actually if you are just reporting what’s been said in Court, there’s no difficulty at all, and that’s what we’ve been doing.


Do you sense that this case is different from others because of the focus of attention because there is so much coverate, and because it is on television, and on all the social media, and because everybody is commenting on it.  The whole of this country has a view haven’t they?


Absolutely, it's captured the imagination and the attention of just about everybody throughout the world who’s got access to some form of media or social media.

However,  I do want to stress that we are talking about the experts and all of the witnesses.  This case to a great extent with these witness who are experts is a lot of smoke and mirrors because the real facts of the matter are,
we have the deceased in a bathroom shot four times by somebody who admits that he shot her.  It is only a question of the intention or otherwise that the Court has to determine and that revolves around a few seconds that took place in that bedroom immediately after Pistorius heard that noise.  He picked up his gun consciously he walked into a dangerous situation, he fired 4 shots, whether he said accidentally or otherwise the fact is he fired 4 shots and we have a dead body that resulted from it.


Martin Brunt just throw forward to when we come back after this Easter recess,  how do you see it progressing from there?


There could be another dozen witnesses, we’ve been promised... I think we will hear how Oscar Pistorius screams like a woman. I mean that’s going to be a fascinating day in Court, and quite how that’s going to be delivered I don’t know…but Pistorius himself has talked about doing screaming tests.  So at some stage we think that’s going to be relayed to us.  The Defence team has hired we believe this American firm that will recreate the crime scene using 3D animation virtual reality models. I mean that again promises to be a fascinating day,or two in Court.  But then of course every time there’s a new Defence witness we’re going to get the Prosecutor  probably tearing into them.


Its been an extraordinary compelling seven weeks and you get the feeling you know that people are just  going to be itching for the Easter break to go so that they can get re absorbed in it.


Oh definitely, certainly the two separate families were very relieved that finally there was a bit of a break even if it’s only two weeks. 

Of course the Pistorius’ we exchange conversation with them every morning, and they, they’re obviously feeling the strain talking about not sleeping properly, not being able to relax terribly well, you know this has taken…its affected the whole family, and clearly June Steenkamp must be going through some terrible  times listening to all that evidence.  But she is very determined to sit through it all she wants to hear it all, and clearly the Pistorius' turn out in their numbers to support him.  So its not just taking over all those peoples lives out there.  These two family's,  there day-to-day life is completely ruled by what is happening inside that Court.  And the first witness up after the break will be the ballistics expert, the man that Roger Dixon referred to quite a lot in his testimony.  So I’m sure we'll hear much more about angles and how you know... I’m sure they’ll use him to back up their case that Reeva Steenkamp was shot so quickly she didn’t have time to scream.

20th April 2014

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