Thursday, April 17, 2014
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.