Oliver Duff

i Editor's Letter: Bullying tactics in the Oscar Pistorius trial

 

Share

 

I hit mute when the news channels cut to the trial of Oscar Pistorius. One need not sympathise with the athlete  to find the exchanges with state prosecutor Gerrie Nel excruciating.  i reader Terry Duncan of Bridlington, East Yorks, wrote to us asking: “Would Gerrie Nel get away with such bullying in a UK court?”

Yesterday Mr Nel went even  further. The defendant broke down crying four times and was sick in court. “Now you’re trying to be emotional and it’s not working,” said Mr Nel, accusing the 27-year-old of “concocting” an improbable defence. “You’re not using your emotional state as an escape are you?”

So why is Mr Nel behaving this way? The prosecutor’s task is to prove  beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Pistorius knew it was his girlfriend in  the bathroom when he shot her through the door – and not that he suspected an intruder, as he claims. With the only witness dead, that’s very difficult to prove. So Mr Nel’s tactic is to try to break Mr Pistorius on the witness stand; to place him under so much pressure that his defence collapses. Hence the aggression so shocking to observers of other legal systems. Pity Reeva Steenkamp’s family who sit through the evidence – and the judge who must make sense of it.

****

A bit of an experiment. Instead of running the customary News Matrix list – which can be hit and miss – we have included a “video matrix”, a quick-link to five short videos you can watch on your phone, tablet or desktop computer. (Thanks to reader Dr Mark Laskin for the suggestion.) They are a mixture of UK and international, the serious and the curious, chosen each day by our colleague Linda Sharkey. You can watch them by either typing in the short link, or downloading the  app to your device. Please let her know if you would like anything to feature: i@independent.co.uk

Twitter.com: @olyduff

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

CPAC 2015: What I learnt from the US — and what the US could learn from Ukip

Nigel Farage
 

If I were Prime Minister: I would create a government that actually reflects its people

Kaliya Franklin
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower