Simply standing up in court, listing your educational qualiﬁcations and saying what you thought happened, is simply not good enough. As far as court expertise – or being accepted as an expert – is concerned, the job of an Expert Witness is to assist the court, ultimately. You are there, as a scientist, to interrogate the evidence, to form an opinion based on that evidence and to provide the court with an explanation of terms or concepts that go beyond the understanding of the average person.
If only it were this simple.
While Stan was accepted as an expert as far back as 2000, he has testified in many hundreds of cases in courts at all levels. After this many years in industry and while just about every single case judgment included compliments for our professionalism, objectivity and accuracy, we are still subjected to challenges of our professionalism, expertise and – as is now becoming very popular – our objectivity. But this is expected, as word of our professionalism spreads.
When it comes to Expert Testimony, we are there to assist the court, to guide the court and to offer an opinion on the scientific evidence available. Even in spite of this, we find that Expert Witnesses are sometimes treated as if they are on trial, as if they are “lawyers” who work for a specific outcome and as if they are willing to tailor their findings to the objectives of prosecution or defense. While this does happen – there are “hired guns” in industry – this is one compromise we will not make.
Almost every time we testify in a criminal or civil matter, the opposing litigant appoints the services of an expert as well. The experts appointed then typically have qualifications, skills and experience below, equal to or even far beyond our own. The likes of mere matriculants, of Police Officers, Traffic Officers, Company Representatives and even Professors of Physics and Mathematics, Doctors of Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineers have all been presented by opposing litigants, as experts.
In recent cases, within a single court jurisdiction, from as few as two opposing litigants, we have even faced cross examination on Tweets made some years ago, challenged on the contents and accuracy of this website and even cross-examined on the outcome of other trials. Trials in which the merits, evidence, witness testimony, family dynamics and even the prosecution strategy was completely different. In one such trial, the opposing expert was even present in court but never placed on the stand. One where the information used in our analysis was challenged and new information introduced only to the effect of making the opposing view completely unlikely, by scientific analysis.
By now, we typically find that opposing parties are seemingly willing to do anything in their effort to discredit us – even making statements before court that are patently false and deceptive. We accept this with a smile. We expect this. We consider it a compliment that opposing parties need to “play the man, not the ball,” perhaps because they cannot address our objective findings directly or find an expert capable of presenting better evidence?
We believe that it is a combination of objectivity, truthfulness, attention to detail, advanced technology and personal skill at testimony as well as a well-deﬁned understanding of legal concepts and extensive court-room experience that helps us to achieve the levels of success we have achieved.
Since 2000, we have studied, worked, and/or testiﬁed in relation to civil and criminal matters and transport issues all over South Africa and abroad, taking us to countries like Zambia, Lesotho, Namibia, Canada, Sweden and even to Oman in the Middle East.
We are always evolving, innovating, improving our processes and perfecting our investigative protocols, our technology and equipment and our reporting structure. This enables us to remain at the cutting edge of our industry, to present our reports in a manner that enables us to transfer our understanding and our ﬁndings to great effect and to seal this with strong performance under cross-examination – even amid personal attacks.
If the descriptions of our skills and contribution by the various courts we have testiﬁed in, as expressed in practically every actual judgement, is any indication, we would be excused for believing that we have achieved a level of expertise that is not only equal to-, but far superior to any singular tertiary qualiﬁcation that may be available in South Africa.
Often described as “the best,” as “superior to anything available in South Africa,” and “clearly an absolute expert in his ﬁeld,” our Stan Bezuidenhout can be described as an international expert that has transcended beyond the conﬁnes of education and mere tertiary qualiﬁcation in the South African arena.
Our endorsements include affiliation, commendations and support even from international organizations like ARAS360, Armstrong Engineering and University of Florida’s IPTM – all based in the USA and Canada and well established in the industry.