NATIONAL NEWS - The Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday postponed the fraud and corruption trial of former president Jacob Zuma and French arms manufacturer Thales to 19 July 2021.
Judge Piet Koen ordered this will be for the adjudication of Zuma’s application to recuse National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prosecutor Billy Downer from the case.
Earlier, Zuma’s legal team led by advocate Thabani Masuku told the court Downer lacked the attributes necessary to lead a fair and independent trial.
“It is clear that Downer should be removed as prosecutor in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act. He is not entitled to conduct a lawful prosecution because he lacks the attributes necessary for a fair trial – independence and impartiality,” Masuku said, reading from Zuma’s affidavit.
Zuma also wants the high court to acquit him of all charges in the event his application to remove Downer succeeds.
Masuku said: “In the event that Downer is removed, I’m entitled to be acquitted in term of the Criminal Procedure Act because my trial cannot be conducted fairly in accordance with the Constitution under the circumstances.
“For all the reasons set above, Mr Downer’s lack of independence and impartiality to conduct a fair trial is terminal and therefore incurable. He should be removed. His passionate pursuit of this prosecution in the circumstances set out is demonstrative of prosecutorial bias in which the only objective is to win.”