Gerrie Nel’s 3 biggest trials – and the ones who got away
Jan Bornman | 2017-01-31 10:00:50.0
Gerrie Nel during the Oscar Pistorius trial. Photo file.
Image by: POOL
Advocate Gerrie Nel‚ who has resigned from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)‚ dubbed “The Pitbull” for his never-back-down attitude during cross-examination of witnesses‚ worked on some of the biggest cases in South Africa during his 35 year career as a prosecutor.
He became so respected‚ a former spokesperson for the NPA‚ Mthunzi Mhaga‚ once said of Nel: “Everything he touches turns to gold.”
Here are some of the biggest cases he has worked on:
Gerrie Nel was the lead prosecutor in the case against former Paralympian and convicted killer Oscar Pistorius‚ who gunned down his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February 2013. During the trial‚ UK newspaper The Guardian said of him: “Nel … is diminutive and pugnacious and a sharp contrast to the tall‚ silver-haired‚ urbane (defence lawyer Barry) Roux. At times‚ it can feel like a street fighter squaring up to a boxer.”
Nel took down the man who was South Africa’s top cop and head of Interpol. In 2010‚ the Sunday Times wrote: “After 10 days in the dock‚ this was the moment that marked the end of the evidence phase of his criminal trial. The 62-year-old [Jackie Selebi] had just endured days of gruelling interrogation at the hands of state prosecutor Advocate Gerrie Nel.” Nel was responsible for jailing Selebi for 15 years on corruption. However‚ he was later released on medical parole in 2012. He died of a stroke in January 2015.
Clive Derby-Lewis and Janusz Walus
Perhaps two of his most famous cases are those of Pistorius and Selebi‚ but back in 1993‚ Nel worked as a junior prosecutor in the cases of former Apartheid-era MP Clive Derby-Lewis and Polish migrant Janusz Walus‚ who were jailed for the assassination of Chris Hani‚ the former head of the South African Communist Party and chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe.
The ones who got away
Another one of Nel’s biggest cases‚ and probably one of the most controversial cases under former NPA boss Vusi Pikoli’s tenure‚ was the murder case of Brett Kebble‚ where the alleged killers‚ Mikey Schultz‚ Nigel McGurk and Faizel Smith‚ got off on section 204 agreements to testify as state witnesses in the case against Glenn Agliotti.
– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE