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David Dison

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Nossel the provoker

Lunch was done. Nossel read the headlines of his crumpled newspaper.

Provoking, as was his wont, he presented Nxumalo with his latest legal observation.

“So the judge who, under apartheid, held that there was no evidence of death squads, faults the judge who finds evidence of the encumbent’s persecution by the Scorpions.”

“Well, he’s being fairly consistent isn’t he? He doesn’t believe that a judge can go outside the direct evidence in front of him.”

“Yes, the cocoon approach, I call it ” retorted Nossel. “All very well and good for the everyday matter that comes before the courts, but political trials are surely different. Politics doesn’t take place inside the barrister’s constructed cocoon, it happens within the vast social milieu. Surely a judge in a political trial cannot remove himself from that milieu. Otherwise he’ll never find death squads, even when they’re staring him in the face.”

“What are you saying Nossel, that the court could take judicial notice of the encumbent’s persecution?”

“Why not? They opened the judgment with a set of pious platitudes about their awareness of the political importance of the case. Once they stepped outside the cocoon they couldn’t ignore the reality of selective prosecution that millions of South Africans worked out long ago, brother.”

“Nice argument Nossel. I see we are reveling in being au contraire as usual. My advice is don’t take any of this too seriously. Your man will be President, and the case will go away just like that.”

They laughed and left.


Recent comments:

  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    January 14th, 2009 @15:47 #

    Just read this. Pretty pertinent stuff, David!


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