Pistorius: Gerrie Nel’s savaging of Roger Dixon continues

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Good morning:

Gerrie Nel continues his savaging of Roger Dixon, the defense “expert” witness whom Nel exposed yesterday for testifying outside his area of expertise, which is geology. Dixon expressed opinions in pathology, wound ballistics, ballistics, as well as audio and video analysis that contradict the state’s theory of the case as laid out by its expert witnesses during the state’s case in chief.

Not a good idea, Roger, old chap. In fact, it was a really bad idea, unless his idea of fun is to be discredited and humiliated in front of a world audience.

Unfortunately, the field of forensic science is densely populated by all sorts of unqualified people from all sorts of backgrounds eager to make money pretending to be scientists. They lie about their credentials, fake their results, cut corners, tailor their testimony to fit their master’s desire and complain loudly whenever anyone dares challenge their results. What cheek!

Regulatory oversight is about as desirable to them as daylight to a vampire.

Their idea of proficiency testing is to know when they are going to be tested and the correct results before they do the test. If a miracle happens and they get a wrong answer, they get to do it over again until they get it right so that they can testify that they have a perfect record on their proficiency tests.

Their idea of peer review is to have a supervisor, who often is another charlatan who has been around a little longer, glance at their results and sign-off on them.

Most of the laboratory analysts who work for state crime labs are wannabee cops and the prosecutors who rely on them to obtain convictions do not want rock the boat, so they also resist regulatory oversight.

No one knows the ratio of charlatans to legitimate scientists, but I would not be surprised to discover that it exceeds 50%.

Gerrie Nel is a great white shark in a robe, an apex predator with attitude. He is one of the best prosecutors I’ve ever seen and a treat to watch.

Pop some corn, settle in and join Crane-Station and me as the master flogs Roger Dixon before a world audience and a more than a little worried Oscar Pistorius.

Watch his command of language, timing, voice, the way he worries his robe and twirls his reading glasses. Note how he controls a witness by interrupting an unresponsive answer by repeating his question and then asking, “Why won’t you answer my question? “You’re not doing yourself any favors, you know.”

I especially like how he uses pauses to create tension.

If any of you are fledgling trial lawyers, study this man.

And don’t forget to make a donation, by the way, if you have not already done so.



Session 1

Session 2

25 Responses to Pistorius: Gerrie Nel’s savaging of Roger Dixon continues

  1. Crane-Station here.
    At one point, the judge takes a time out to mention the activities going on in the courtroom next door…and admonish them. Apparently, the place was off the hook, and I could not help but picture this scene:

  2. Pdeadder says:

    Mr Nell reminds me of Columbo.

  3. Dixon’s redirect ends with the defense making the point that the neighbor eyewitness could only see the upper half of the bathroom window and even with the added 20 cm, the head would not hav e been visible to him.

    Court recesses early because the next witness will take awhile and both sides agree that it would be better to wait and start his examination when they return on Monday, May 5th, rather than split it.

    Court is in recess until Monday, May 5th at 9:30 am Pretoria time.

  4. During Session 2, the defense team of experts attempted to replicate the shooting by firing into a door made out of the same wood, but they did not measure the angle that the bullet impacted the door.

    That would be yet another oooops moment.


    Because they just wanted to determine the amount of splintering.


    Blind leading the blind, comes to mind.

    Among other things.

  5. Dixon doesn’t know how far away he was when he took the photo and he was in the street, not in the neighbor’s house, which is higher up.

  6. Next up: Nel confronts Dixon about two photographs that Dixon took at night on March 25th outside Pistorius’s house showing the bathroom window with the light on.

    In one picture, the model Dixon used (a live person) is on his knees and one can only see the head. This photo was supposed to represent what a person outside the house would have seen at night, if Pistorius were on his stumps.

    But there’s a problem. Ahem. The model is 20 centimeters shorter than Pistorius would have been. For the metric challenged, that’s 7.87 inches.

    Why did you do that? Nel asks.

    Dixon responds that he was only attempting to show the relative difference between Pistorius on his stumps and Pistorius wearing his prosthetic legs.

    (In the 2nd photograph, the model is standing upright)

    • Malisha says:

      Oh that’s precious.

      EXPERT WITNESS: And in this picture, Milady, we see the Easter Bunny, on a dark night with no moon, hopping. But in THIS picture, Milady, we see another bunny NOT hopping in the relative darkness.

      NELL: [twirling glasses] Are you quite sure, Mr Expert, that it is the Easter Bunny and not one or more of Santa’s elves?

      EXPERT: Uh…Milady, I was just trying to show the relative difference between hops.

      NELL: Between which hops, if you don’t mind my asking?

      EXPERT: Between the hops that prove Pistorius is innocent and the hops used to make beer.

      NELL: Quite. [twirl]

  7. Hi, Crane-Station here, sharing a screen with Fred, seeing this:

    News 24h AUS ‏@news24haus 2m
    Expert hired by Pistorius won’t testify: A forensic pathologist hired by Oscar Pistorius has said he will not … http://news24h.allnews24h.com/kwj
    Expand Reply Retweet Favorite More

  8. In the following exchange we are going to see an excellent example of leading a very compliant expert witness into a trap and springing it shut.

    Roger Dixon is compliant because Nel so thoroughly humiliated him yesterday regarding his lack of integrity that today he is so determined to defend his integrity by standing his ground regarding the position of the magazine rack that he contradicts Pistorius.

    The exchange begins around the 45 minute mark.

    Nel: Now are you saying that after the wound to the back was sustained on your reconstruction, that the deceased got up again . . . you’re not saying that?

    Dixon: The deceased was lifted, up my Lady, by Mr. Pistorius when he took her out of the bathroom. Other than that, I do not believe that she made any more voluntary movements after she fell to the floor.

    Nel: On your reconstruction [with glasses twirling], having fallen on the magazine rack, the furthest point of the magazine rack from the toilet, that’s what you said, and that caused the bruise to the buttocks . . .

    Dixon: The contusion as Mr. Simmonds said . . .

    Nel: Good. And in the same movement, it caused the two contusions on the back, am I correct?

    Dixon: That is correct, my Lady.

    Nel: And from that position she must have fallen forward toward the toilet bowl . . .

    Dixon: That is my interpretation, my Lady.

    Nel: Then one would expect the magazine rack to be there?

    Dixon: That is so, my Lady.

    Nel: The accused said to this court that it definitely wasn’t there. Are you giving a version that is different than the accused version?

    Dixon: My Lady, my reconstruction of the events in that toilet is based on the evidence that I can see and measure and has been recorded by other people.

    Nel: So what you’re saying, let me just get that . . Whatever the accused is saying, you’re saying he’s wrong.

    Dixon: My Lady, I am giving testimony on what I observe and interpret. I am not saying that anyone else is right or wrong.

    Nel: Can the accused be right, if you’re right? He said the magazine rack was definitely not there. Then he must be wrong. You’re his witness. What are you saying about that?

    Dixon refers to a photograph of the blood on the floor next to thew toilet and shows two marks — one of a dry spot where the blood congealed around one leg of the magazine rack and the second of a bloody smudge on the floor next to the wall after the magazine rack was moved. The photograph contradicts Pistorius’s testimony.

    In other words, in a desperate move to salvage his honor, dignity and professional reputation, Dixon used the photograph to drive another nail into Pistorius’s defense.

  9. At the 37 minute mark of the first session, Nel gets Dixon to admit that he cannot say the pathologist is wrong about the contusion on her back.

    Dixon thinks it was caused by her body hitting the magazine rack as she dropped to the floor. The pathologist testified that it was caused by one of the bullets. He dissected the bruised area.

    Dixon was not present at the autopsy, or post mortem as they call it and he relied on a photograph of the injured area before the pathologist dissected it to examine the underlying tissue.

  10. Notice how Nel sets up a savaging of Wolmerans by using Dixon to place him at various places doing various things, usually in charge.

    • I want to make an app that can record what another person Is saying to me, then the app tells me the Nel-ian response, complete with body language.

      I.E. “honey you forgot to pick up the dry cleaning” Nel app responds “rub temples, shiver slightly, look away from everyone for a BREIF second and then respond “you see dear, how could I know about the dry cleaning when my my closet is full of clean shirts. Did you see all those clean shirts dear? That’s the only question I’m asking. We’ll get to why you would overlook that soon enough dear…”

      Many future young folks around the world will be motivated to study law as a result of his performance.

  11. Not good if the sounds of the bat strikes and gunshots were manipulated by the recording equipment.

  12. Holy bat strike, batman.

  13. I’m watching Muhammed Ali in his prime when I’m seeing Prosecutor Nel go to work. He rope a dopes them.

    I especially like when he gets something wrong he says, ‘not the first time I’ve been corrected in court ‘ then he pauses and says ‘but if your correct then you can’t be correct Mr. Dixon..’ then begins the holy evisceration.

    Real talent.

  14. fauxmccoy says:

    watching section 1 and am just flabbergasted that a geologist (i.e. — one who studies ROCKS ffs!) can give such ‘expert’ testimony. since dixon’s area of expertise is the study of rocks, why isn’t he testifying to pistorius’ mental state? it would make more sense to me.

    • Malisha says:

      Oh Faux you made me splurch my coffee all over the screen! Hilarious!! 😆

      BTW, I know a prestigious forensic psychiatrist who thought that a defense of diminished capacity (if they had that in SA) would possibly work because he believed that neurologically, the way this guy would gear up to WIN would actually affect the way he would typically respond to situations in which he would perceive a win/lose scenario developing. That is, he thought it was possible Pistorius’ psychological make-up would make it harder for him (than a so-called normal person) to see life’s inevitable losses as others do.

      Interesting idea. Probably better than “Since I know all about rocks I can tell you that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face in the dark!”

      • fauxmccoy says:

        😀 glad i could get a hearty guffaw, malisha.

        this is painful to watch, plain and simple. what kind of desperation would cause a defense, who presumably has plenty of cash, to at least find a better charlatan to pose as an ‘expert’? a geologist … that was the best they could do. pistorius is a rock head, i rest my case.

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