Alexis Bizos, the son of Adv. George Bizos, appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court today on a charge of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, represented the victim, Monique van Oosterhout, who had been married to Alexis Bizos at the time of the incident. A preliminary hearing date was set for 4 May 2020.
Bizos allegedly assaulted Van Oosterhout in 2015, breaking six of her ribs. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) initially refused to prosecute Bizos. Following AfriForum’s announcement in 2018 that the organisation had applied for a nolle prosequi certificate to prosecute Bizos, 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 prosecute, prompting Van Oosterhout to yet again apply for a certificate to privately prosecute Bizos.
“It is clear that the NPA is doing lip service when it comes to cases of violence against women and children. It appears as if Bizos is not being prosecuted owing to his father’s political ties, and that is unacceptable,” says Andrew Leask, Head Investigator at AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.
According to Leask it is paramount that AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit gets involved in cases like these, firstly because the NPA shouldn’t be selective when it comes to prosecuting suspects and secondly because the legal system had failed this victim numerous times.
“Nobody is above the law, and for this reason AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit will continue to drive the case and prosecute Bizos on Van Oosterhout’s behalf. It seems as if the NPA’s indication that it would focus on cases of violence against women and children isn’t being applied in all cases. We want to ensure that certain individuals aren’t seen as being above the law, and we view violence against women in a serious light,” says Leask.