Monique van Oosterhout, the estranged wife of Alexis Bizos, concluded her hearing in the assault case against him in the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
She described how the defendant allegedly punched her in the face, abused her and threw her against a bookshelf. This resulted in six of her ribs being broken.
The private prosecution against Bizos is being pursued by AfriForum’s private prosecutor on behalf of Van Oosterhout. Bizos is said to have attacked Van Oosterhout in 2015.
The National Law Enforcement Agency (NPA) initially refused to prosecute Bizos, the son of the late human rights lawyer George Bizos.
Following the announcement of AfriForum in 2018 that it had requested a certificate issued by the NPA confirming that it opposes prosecution, the NPA surprisingly said it would announce prosecution.
Bizos was then asked to testify before his prosecution to issue statements.
“Upon receipt of Bizos’ statements, the NPA again refused to take up the matter, which prompted Van Oosterhout to again apply for a certificate to prosecute Bizos privately,” AfriForum said .
During her main hearing, led by AfriForum’s private prosecutor Gerrie Nel, Van Oosterhout told the court that on the evening of March 16, 2015, after a verbal argument with Bizos in his study.
She claims that after a brief conversation with the accused he hit her in the face.
“I fell to the ground and was disoriented. I felt heavy, like I was glued to the floor and couldn’t get up,” she said.
Van Oosterhout went on to claim that the attack continued – to the point that Bizos smashed her against the bookshelf rammed it, resulting in multiple fractures that were later identified in a CAT scan.
“Seven years after the incident, I am relieved to finally have the opportunity to tell my story in court,” said Van Oosterhout.
She thanked the AfriForum unit for their support and for ensuring that the case was taken up.
The defendant pleaded not guilty, pleaded guilty self-defense and said Van Oosterhout was the attacker – an allegation she denies.
During cross-examination, defense counsel presented a version that contradicted that of the applicant, but she told the court that this was entirely fabricated.
The spokesman for the private st AfriForum Attorney Barry Bateman said this is another case in a long line of gender-based violence issues the unit has focused on because of the criminal justice system’s failure to protect women and children.
The matter was raised on Postponed January next year.
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