Former President Jacob Zuma’s lawyer Muzi Sikhakhane says the test regarding bias on the part of a judge must be that a reasonable person can believe that they will receive a fair trial.
Sikhakhane was making arguments in Zuma’s application to have Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo recuse himself from hearing Zuma’s testimony. Sikhakhane says he will demonstrate that Zondo’s conduct shows he is not impartial.
“As much as this environment is easy for you, for me and for Mr Pretorious it’s not easy for a client or for an ordinary citizen as an accused because it does not matter what we say about Mr. Zuma. The narrative is that Mr. Zuma sits as an accused and therefore that is the context in which you must look at his apprehension about this commission’s choice of witnesses, this commission’s comments during the testimony of those witnesses.”
Earlier, Deputy Chief Justice Zondo said that while relations between him and Zuma have been cordial over the years, they are not friends as stated by Zuma.
Zondo says that this is not the first time he has presided over a number of cases concerning Zuma in the past.
“From November 2011 to May 2012 when I was an Acting Justice of the Constitutional Court and in the last 8 years since my appointment as Justice of the Constitutional Court I have sat in a number of matters which involved Mr Zuma as President in which the court has given judgments, sometimes against him and sometimes in his favour and Mr Zuma has never complained in all those years that I had a close relationship with him that disqualified me from sitting in matters in which he was involved.”
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