Application for state prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer to recuse himself continues

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The application for state prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer to recuse himself in the corruption case of former President Jacob Zuma will continue in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday.

Zuma and French arms company Thales are facing charges of corruption, racketeering, and money laundering in connection with the 1999 multi-billion-rand arms deal.

On Tuesday, Judge Piet Koen ruled that the application continues in the former President’s absence, for convenience’s sake.

Zuma’s legal team pointed out 12 instances in which they believed Downer acted improperly, as well as instances in which the National Prosecuting Authority was an alleged party to political meddling in the matter.

Acting for Zuma, Advocate Thabani Masuku, has argued that Downer has become so invested in the case over the past 20 years, that he is no longer impartial.  Zuma’s lawyer Advocate Dali Mpofu accused Downer of leaking a copy of Zuma’s medical report to a journalist before it was filed in court.

However, State prosecutor Advocate Wim Trengove argued that there is no such evidence that Downer ever leaked confidential material to the media. Trengove told the court that in the latest alleged leak of a report on Zuma’s medical condition to a journalist, the former President’s attorney Mondli Thusini actually withheld information from the court.

Zuma who is still under medical care in Gauteng following an operation opted not to apply for a postponement, but rather to follow proceedings virtually.

DISCUSSION | Unpacking the Jacob Zuma vs Billy Downer matter: