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Zuma turns to Supreme Court to kick Downer off case

Former President Jacob Zuma has filed a petition to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) retaliating against Judge Piet Koen’s rejection of his request to appeal the outcome of his special plea. †

Last year, Zuma made a special plea, challenging the title of state attorney Billy Downer and the National Prosecutor to try him in the arms trade case, arguing that he was the victim of prosecution bias and could not be guaranteed a fair trial.

In the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg, Koen rejected the special plea last October, saying that the word “title” referred to the status of a prosecutor or the power to prosecute. In January, he rejected Zuma’s request to appeal and ordered the trial to continue.

He felt it had already been delayed “considerably and unreasonably” and that an appeal was not in the interests of justice.

Koen insisted in his January decision that whether there had been a violation of Zuma’s rights to a fair trial would best be determined at the end of the trial, adding that it “is contrary to the interests of justice” to allow an occupation in which the prospects of success were poor, which he felt they were in Zuma’s case. In his petition to the SCA, filed Tuesday, Zuma was adamant that Koen was wrong.

“In this particular case, the interests of justice demand that the appeal be upheld because it has good prospects of success and exposes the accused to the prejudice of having to endure a lengthy trial with a prosecutor who can later be determined to have no had the right to be prosecuted. naturally lead to injustice.” He described Koen’s interpretation as ‘an absurdity’.

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“In essence, the narrow interpretation favored by the court a quo makes the phrase ‘right to prosecute’… synonymous with the written authority sometimes required before a prosecutor can act. “This is an absurdity because if that had been the case, the legislature would have used the words ‘power to prosecute’,” he argued.

“It should be clear that ‘right to prosecute’ is a much broader phenomenon than mere authority.”

Zuma also requested leave in his petition to provide new evidence to support a criminal complaint he has since filed against Downer, which Koen also denied in January.

“The relevance of the evidence is obvious. The possibility that a defendant in a criminal case opened by one person could also act as an ‘independent’ prosecutor against the complainant puts the idea of ​​the prosecution’s independence at the center of the special plea,” he said in his petition.

He wants the SCA to reject Koen’s rejection of a “special mention” application based on what he alleged to be irregularities or illegalities, as well as an application for reservation on a number of points of law for the SCA’s review.

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