The trial of Alexis Bizos, son of Adv. George Bizos, on a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, would have started in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court today. Adv. Phyllis Vorster, prosecutor at AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, appeared as prosecutor on behalf of the victim, Monique van Oosterhout (Alexis’ estranged wife). The trial date has been postponed to February 23, 2022 after Bizos decided at the last minute, without any explanation to appoint new lawyers.
The defense team also put on record this morning that, although a trial date has been set, the accused’s counsel are involved in a judicial inquest into the Life Esidimeni incident in February, in which the Private Prosecution Unit is also involved.
“The Private Prosecution Unit was ready to proceed with the trial today and has already consulted with witnesses. However, it appears that the accused is resorting to delaying tactics in the hope that this case will disappear. However, we will not allow this to happen and our focus now is to ensure that the trial will continue in February without any further delays. We acknowledge an accused’s right to the legal presentation of his choice, but this right cannot be used to unreasonably delay a case to the detriment if the victim and society at large,” said Natasha Venter, Advisor at the Private Prosecution Unit.
Bizos allegedly assaulted Van Oosterhout in 2015 and broke six of her ribs. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) initially refused to prosecute him. After AfriForum announced in 2018 that they had applied for a nolle prosequi certificate to prosecute Bizos, the NPA announced in a one-off decision that they would prosecute Bizos. Bizos was then invited to make representations to the NPA before the prosecution was instituted. After receiving Bizos’ representations, the NPA once again decided not to prosecute. Van Oosterhout then applied again for a certificate to prosecute Bizos privately.