South Africa: Court Rules Against Jacob Zuma's Special Plea to Have Billy Downer Removed From Arms Deal Case

analysis

Two unsurprising things happened at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday. Presiding judge Piet Koen denied Jacob Zuma's special plea to have senior prosecutor Billy Downer removed from trying the arms deal graft case, and Zuma's legal team hinted strongly that it would apply for leave to appeal the ruling.

Koen read a summary of his 107-page judgment into the court record, saying that the central question to be answered was what was meant by "title to prosecute", as the veteran prosecutor having "no title to prosecute... was the sole basis upon which Mr Downer's removal as prosecutor was sought [by Zuma]".

The former president had sought the special plea in terms of Section 106 (1) (h) of the Criminal Procedure Act. Zuma contended that should the plea have been successful, he would have been entitled to an immediate acquittal under Section 106 (4) the same act.

During oral arguments in September, the State argued for the special plea to be dismissed, saying it was another attempt by Zuma to have his prosecution permanently stayed - which a full bench of the court had already ruled against.

Zuma has accused Downer of not having title to prosecute because he is...

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