Assault case against Alexis Bizos, estranged wife testifies


Assault case against Alexis Bizos, estranged wife testifies
Assault case against Alexis Bizos, estranged wife testifies

The assault case of Alexis Bizos, son of revered human rights lawyer, Adv. George Bizos, continued in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on 6 July 2022. In her testimony his estranged wife, Monique van Oosterhout, described how the accused allegedly punched her in her face, manhandled and threw her against a bookshelf, and punched her in the chest which resulted in six broken ribs. The matter is being pursued by AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.

Bizos allegedly assaulted Van Oosterhout in 2015. The NPA initially refused to prosecute him, but after AfriForum’s announcement in 2018 that the organisation had applied for a nolle prosequi certificate, the NPA made a surprise announcement to prosecute. Bizos was subsequently invited to submit representations prior to prosecution. Upon receipt of Bizos’ representations, the NPA yet again declined to enroll the matter, prompting Van Oosterhout to apply for a certificate yet again to privately prosecute Bizos.

During her evidence in chief, led by Afriforum Private Prosecution Head Adv. Gerrie Nel, Van Oosterhout told the court that on the evening of 16 March 2015, after a verbal altercation with Bizos, she approached him in his study. She alleges that after briefly speaking to the accused, he punched her in the face. “I fell to the ground and was disorientated. I felt heavy like I was glued to the ground and could not get up,” she said.

Van Oosterhout further alleged that the attack continued – to the point that Bizos rammed her into the bookshelf, which resulted in several fractures which were later identified in a CAT scan. The complainant told the court that she also tried to raise this issue with Bizos’s family, but she was ignored.

Van Oosterhout has concluded her evidence. “Seven years after the incident I am relieved I was finally given an opportunity to tell my story to the court. I wish to thank AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit for supporting me and ensuring this matter was enrolled,” said Van Oosterhout.

The accused pleaded not guilty, citing self-defense saying Van Oosterhout was the aggressor – a claim she denies. During cross-examination the defence counsel presented a version contradictory to the complainant’s, but she told the court this was entirely fabricated.

AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit spokesperson, Barry Bateman says: “This is another case in a long line of gender-based violence matters that the Private Prosecution Unit is focusing on, because of the failure of the criminal justice system to protect women and children. The unit will remain focused on addresses such injustices and continue to support victims of crime.”

The matter was postponed to January 2023.

Read the original article in Afrikaans on AfriForum