Pretoria - The private prosecution initiated by civil rights group AfriForum, on behalf of Monique van Oosterhout -- the wife of legal guru George Bizos’s son Alexis -- is meant to cause embarrassment to the Bizos family, Alexis' attorney said on Tuesday.
“My client [Alexis Bizos] believes that this intended private prosecution is vexatious and unfortunate and specifically designed to embarrass him and his family, being pursued by Afriforum and Monique van Oosterhout for their own vested interests, including an impending date in respect of their divorce where my client is the plaintiff in the high court,” said Hanro Friedrich, attorney for Bizos junior.
“My client denies the allegations regarding domestic abuse and her version put forward by her and Afriforum. The NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] declined to prosecute. My client, Alexi, obtained a protection order against Monique van Oosterhout after all the evidence was presented to the Family Violence Court.”
Friedrich said in March 2015, his client also laid a charge of assault against Van Oosterhout, relating to events of assault in which the couple laid counter criminal charges with police.
Head of AfriForum's private prosecuting unit, Advocate Gerrie Nel, with Monique van Oosterhout, who is seeking a private prosecution against her husband Alexis Bizos. Video: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA
Earlier on Tuesday, AfriForum chief executive officer (CEO) Kallie Kriel said he believes the NPA did not prosecute Alexis Bizos for allegedly assaulting his wife of 23 years, simply because of the respected family name.
“Monique has been assaulted on several occasions. The one [incident] we are taking now is an incident which happened on the 16th of March 2015, where she unfortunately broke six ribs during the assault,” Kriel told journalists in Pretoria.
“Alexis was arrested but later the NPA decided not to prosecute, even irrespective of the evidence that was available. My conclusion is the prosecution did not go ahead because of the perpetrator’s family ties and his surname. That is why we have now started with the process of private prosecution against Mr Bizos.”
Head of AfriForum’s private prosecuting unit, renowned former State prosecutor Advocate Gerrie Nel, said Van Oosterhout was issued with a nolle prosequi certificate, which indicated that the public prosecutors would not be pursuing the matter and was required for a private prosecution, by the NPA in September 2015.
“She was unable to proceed with the prosecution and approached the NPA and engaged with them, requesting the NPA to review their decision [not to prosecute Alexis] because she clearly wanted them to prosecute the matter. She didn’t want a nolle prosequi certificate,” said Nel.
“Lots of time lapsed. After she engaged them, the NPA indicated that they will review the application, but then the case docket went missing. A year later, she was informed that the representation she made was unsuccessful. Monique then made contact with us, and through a process of consultations, we have decided to assist her in re-applying for a nolle prosequi certificate.”
Nel said a nolle prosequi certificate is issued for a limited period of three months, so the one initially issued in 2015 has become obsolete.
The prominent prosecutor said Van Oosterhout, who was at the press briefing on Tuesday, had requested not speak to the media.