It’s a bad day in the dock for Jacob Zuma and his legal team, after they failed in their plea to have State Prosecutor Billy Downer recused from the arms deal corruption case. Msholozi had argued that the veteran advocate was biased against him, and accused Downer of leaking his medical records – but the Pietermaritzburg High Court did not agree.
Jacob Zuma loses court bid for recusal
The case was dismissed rapidly on Tuesday, as Judge Piet Koen explained that most of Zuma’s argument was based on ‘hearsay, rather than facts’. It marks another defeat in court for uBaba, and his attempts to delay the procession of his corruption trial now look to have hit a dead end.
The arms deal case will now be heard in the PMB High Court at a later date, some four years after initial hearings began. Zuma, so often a master at delaying his own legal engagements, may have finally run out of road here.
Judge Piet Koen delivers his verdict
In his 107-page judgement, Koen did not go easy on Jacob Zuma, highlighting the flaws in his application.
#JacobZuma JUST IN: Koen says Zuma’s complaint does not affect Downer’s title to prosecute.
“Zuma failed to show that Downer lacks title to prosecute him,”#Zuma‘s special plea has been dismissed, his trial must go ahead.
— Jacaranda News (@JacaNews) October 26, 2021
Jacob Zuma and his corruption trial – what happens next?
Lawyers representing the 79-year-old are likely to mount a challenge against the decision, and may decide to test the resolve of the Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA) in Bloemfontein. However, the chances of getting Judge Koen’s verdict overruled are slim, and although it could cause another trial delay, it probably won’t get Jacob Zuma off the hook.
Currently, the state and the defence are discussing appropriate dates to determine when the trial can go ahead. Judge Koen also revealed it was him, and not Billy Downer, who asked for a state-appointed medical examination to be carried out on the former president, essentially obliterating Zuma’s main argument.
JUST IN: Judge Koen confirms that he ordered that Zuma submit himself to examination by state-appointed doctors. Zuma’s complaint against Downer over NPA doctors attempt to act on this order is therefore baseless.
— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) October 26, 2021
Update: The trial date has been set for 11 April 2022