‘Leonard McCarthy had insignificant effect on decision to prosecute Zuma’
The spy tapes were conversations McCarthy had with several people discussing the timing of Zuma’s case.
PRETORIA - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has argued that former Scorpions Head Leonard McCarthy's conduct had an insignificant effect on the decision to prosecute President Jacob Zuma.
The party has applied to the High Court in Pretoria to have the 2009 decision with withdraw charges against Zuma set aside on the basis that it was irrational.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decided to prosecute Zuma in 2009, but reversed this when he made representations, which included the so-called Spy Tapes.
The secret recordings were of conversations McCarthy had with several people where he discussed the timing of the case against Zuma.
Advocate Sean Rosenberg has argued that the strength of the case against President Zuma warranted it continuing.
"The case against the third respondent, prosecution as a whole, was not implicated, contaminated or undermined in anyway by the conduct in question."
He says McCarthy's conduct shouldn't have factored in the decision.
"Even if it is assumed that McCarthy took or influenced the decision, why should the prosecution itself be withdrawn? We must remember that the prosecution had been inevitable since mid-2005."
The NPA has argued that McCarthy's conduct should not be minimised and that he acted with a clear agenda.
The DA's legal team also says the decision to withdraw criminal charges against Zuma was an impulsive reflection of personal outrage.
Rosenberg has told the High Court in Pretoria that former prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe's decision was an emotional and irrational one, made after listening to the Spy Tapes.
"The decision of Mr Mpshe was an impulsive decision. It was a decision that reflects his own sense of betrayal, anger and outrage over the McCarthy conduct."
He says days earlier, the prosecuting team and independent legal counsel had met and agreed that the case against Zuma was strong.
Rosenberg also insist that Zuma would not have been prejudiced if the case proceeded.