Defence lawyer Barry Roux is vastly experienced in high-profile trials, but the Oscar Pistorius case is his biggest yet
Defence lawyer Barry Roux is vastly experienced in high-profile trials, but the Oscar Pistorius case is his biggest yetReuters

The man Oscar Pistorius is paying a rumoured £3,500 a day to defend him in court is a master of cross examination whose demolition of witnesses has been compared to the clubbing to death of baby seals.

Barry Roux is a performer for the big occasion which makes defending the Bladerunner on the charge of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp all in a day's work for him.

He displayed his prowess at a previous bail hearing by completely demolishing the testimony of police detective, Hilton Botha. Roux's sustained going-over of Botha's testimony reduced the officer to pleading pathetically from the stand: "I don't have any facts!"

Earlier, Roux had leaned across to Pistorius and whispered to him: "You're going to be okay." He duly delivered, as the runner won bail where he had previously been considered a flight risk. Hapless Botha became the poor defenceless seal in a tweet about the encounter by South African journalist Karyn Maugha.

Roux has spent 31 years defending high-profile and occasionally controversial clients, acquiring a tough reputation along the way. That has already been on display at Pistorius's trial for murder, as witness Michell Burger was subjected to hours of cross examination.

It occasionally appeared Roux was ignoring the dictum: 'cross examination does not mean to examine crossly' during terse exchanges.

Described in some quarters as a legal gun for hire, Roux reportedly once defended an Apartheid-era police chief who sued newspapers over claims he supplied toxic gas for use against black liberation activists. The size of the damages - as well as legal bills, forced one newspaper to shut down.

Roux also defended the man who ran up the largest unpaid tax bill in all South African history. Former Rangers FC director Dave King was accused of ignoring a bill for no less than 2.3bn Rand (£100 million), which was later drastically cut to around 700m Rand thanks in part of Roux's representation.

Defending Oscar Pistorius looks set to be the biggest case of Roux's high-profile career and the Paralympian appears to have chosen his Counsel well.

Click here for a profile about Gerrie Nel, the lawyer with the 'golden touch' who is trying to convict Pistorius for murder.