ANALYSIS

Here’s hoping State Capture inquiry won’t be another Oscar trial

29 August 2018 - 08:00
Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor laughs with Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture in Parktown, Johannesburg on August 28 2018.
Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor laughs with Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture in Parktown, Johannesburg on August 28 2018.
Image: Masi Losi

One of the scariest parts of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial – other than that the judge initially believed he did not intend to kill Reeva Steenkamp – was the cross-examination of neighbours who had heard her scream.

Pistorius’s advocate, Barry Roux, did his best to discredit the state witnesses who testified that they heard a woman’s “terrible screams” in the middle of the night.

Roux questioned the witnesses on the type of screams they claimed they heard, whether they could be sure they came from a woman or a man, and how they could tell that the person screaming was frightened.

Roux argued that the evidence of Dr Johan Stipp could not be relied on because he said in the witness box that the screams were fearful and emotional but his initial statement to police did not mention this.

The defence strategy was enough to make you think twice about doing your civic duty and reporting such things to the police.

With all the high-powered legal teams represented at the commission of inquiry into state capture and the process playing out live on television, testifying could be unnerving. But the commission should not instil a sense of foreboding among potential witnesses, as the Pistorius trial did.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

X