Oscar prosecutor has the golden touch

2014-02-24 21:25
Gerrie Nel (File, Sapa)

Gerrie Nel (File, Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - He is an artist in presenting evidence, say those who know the man set to prosecute Paralympian and murder-accused Oscar Pistorius.

Gerrie Nel has built up a reputation not only for his skill and dedication but also his determination.

"Everything he touches turns to gold," said former National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga.

"He is one prosecutor whose prosecutorial expertise, conviction and integrity is beyond reproach," said Mhaga.

High-profile cases like the Pistorius murder trial are nothing new for Nel, who will try and prove the Paralympian shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in cold blood when the trial starts on 3 March.

A career prosecutor with more than 30 years of experience, Nel is a familiar name in South African law for taking on big cases, including that of former national police commissioner and Interpol president Jackie Selebi.

Patient with the witness

Mhaga said Nel was very modest when it came to acknowledging his own achievements.

"He is... a prosecutor who, during my interaction with him, displayed a character of skilful prosecuting, a brilliant art of presenting evidence and one who is very patient with the witness.

"I've known him to be a very dedicated prosecutor and a very resourceful prosecutor," said Mhaga.
Nel is no stranger to pressure and intimidation.

During the Selebi trial, he was arrested at his home in the early hours of 8 January 2008 in what appeared to be a bid to disrupt the investigation against the former top cop.

Taken into custody by 20 police officers in front of his wife and children, the alleged fraud charges were later dropped.

Two years later, he secured a corruption conviction against Selebi who was jailed for 15 years in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg in 2010.

Another top cop under investigation, suspended police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, last year accused Nel of conspiring with others to kill him. Mdluli himself is facing fraud charges.

Recognised globally

But the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) had only good things to say about Nel.

He received a special achievement award from the IAP for his "fierce pursuit of the vision of the National Prosecuting Authority's ideals to achieve justice in society".

The IAP were full of praise for Nel's gutsy achievements.

"It bears mentioning that the IAP is proud to have recognised the exceptional qualities of integrity, independence and perseverance that advocate Nel has displayed in the past," it said.

"It is hardly surprising that the NPA has chosen advocate Nel to lead the prosecution in another reportedly sensitive and difficult matter that would seem to require a prosecutor such as one with advocate Nel's track record."

Popular prosecutor

Nel also enjoys some measure of celebrity status on social networking sites like Twitter, particularly after Pistorius' bail application in February last year.

At the time, a picture circulated on Twitter with a photo of Nel and the words "Keep calm and trust in Gerrie Nel" written underneath.

User @galamolabi tweeted on 22 February: "And I can't wait for Oscar to be cross examined. Gerrie Nel is a very smart and calculating lawyer."

Another user @sanzanombembe tweeted on 2 June: "My friend said Oscar has the best lawyers in SA, 1 is my dad!! I said clearly ur dad doesn't know Gerrie Nel..."

On 4 December, @Sentletse tweeted: "Gerrie Nel restored some confidence in the NPA when he went head-to-head against Roux in the Pistorius case."

Pistorius will go on trial on 3 March, on a charge of pre-meditated murder after he shot his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

Judged by his previous record, Nel is seldom at a loss for words.

During Selebi's trial, Nel, referring to the former top cop's struggle credentials, said he had brought his situation upon himself.

"We don't have a fallen angel. Not at all," said Nel.

He famously accused Selebi of being an "arrogant liar" after he told the court his wife had shredded key evidence.

"Mr Selebi, this is becoming more and more ridiculous. You know what this shows? That you are arrogant and that you lie," Nel said at the time.

At one stage Selebi said to him: "Mr Nel, please, it doesn't help to be obnoxious", to which he replied: "Mr Selebi, now that you are in trouble you take on the prosecutor... You can't answer... you are an intelligent, educated person so you pretend not to understand the question."

Convicted drug dealer Glenn Agliotti said of Nel in the same trial: "I don't particularly like Mr Nel and I say that with respect. I believe the accused doesn't like Mr Nel and I don't think many people that I know like Mr Nel, and I say that with respect."

But after Nel recently secured a state witness against Nico Henning, in the Chanelle Henning murder trial, Agliotti himself tweeted: "Henning gone... Nel too clever for him."

Nel has a string of court successes behind his name.

He was junior prosecutor in the Chris Hani murder case in 1993. Clive Derby-Lewis and Janusz Waluz are currently behind bars for the assassination of the former SA Communist Party leader.

In 1995, he prosecuted two youths for gunning down a doctor outside the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg.

In the 90s, Nel sent Kempton Park dentist Casper Greef to jail for murdering his wife.

He was also responsible for sending Hazel Kidson to prison for 25 years for stabbing her husband to death outside their West Rand home at Horizon, Roodepoort in January 1996.

World will be watching

Nel was the founding head of the Gauteng division of the Scorpions in 1999. He held the position until it was disbanded in 2009 and was said to be close to the then chief prosecutor Vusi Pikoli.

He was also one of the prosecutors in the murder trial of Glenn Agliotti, who was arrested in 2006 for the slaying of mining magnate Brett Kebble. Agliotti was acquitted.

The world will be watching when Pistorius's trial starts in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria next month when Nel takes on the star athlete's top legal team.

Law-graduate Steenkamp was shot dead in his Pretoria home on 14 February 2013.

At his bail hearing last year Pistorius submitted that he thought Steenkamp was an intruder.

But Nel convinced the court to prosecute him for premeditated murder.

"There is no possible information to support his version that it was a burglar," said Nel.

"She couldn't go anywhere. You can run nowhere... It must have been horrific."

There is no doubting Nel's mission in these words.
- News24
Read more on:    npa  |  oscar pistorius  |  gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  pistorius trial
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
63 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Climbing the world’s largest stone arch

For the first time ever, a rock climber conquered the biggest stone arch in the world.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route
4 exercise excuses and how to beat them
Watch: Insane road bike skills!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

One day only! – 40% off Appliances!

Get 40% off 100’s of appliances at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong desire to be self sufficient, right and in control today. There is a tendency to hold on too tightly to your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.