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#SpyTapes: ‘Interference in the prosecutorial process was not insignificant’

Advocate Kemp dismissed the DA’s argument that McCarthy’s conduct was insignificant.

Legal counsel for the NPA, President Zuma and the DA in court for the Spy Tape saga on 1 March 2016. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma's legal team says the interference in the prosecutorial process was not insignificant, as claimed by the Democratic Alliance (DA), but was rather so enormous that it shocked the prosecutors assigned to the case.

Advocate Kemp J Kemp has responded to the party's application in the High Court in Pretoria to have the 2009 decision to withdraw charges against the president set aside.

Former prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe withdrew the case in 2009, after Zuma made representations, which included the so-called spy tapes.

The secret recordings showed that Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy was timing the charges in order to influence the African National Congress's Polokwane conference to favour former President Thabo Mbeki.

Advocate Kemp dismissed the DA's argument that McCarthy's conduct was insignificant.

He says the Scorpions head attempted to engineer a political decision by interfering in the prosecutorial process.

Kemp referred to prosecutor Billy Downer's affidavit where he stated he was brought to tears when he heard the spy tapes.

"He did not cry tears of joy when they won battles against us. He says: 'I cried, not when I heard Mr Mpshe's decision, [but] when I heard what McCarthy had done.'"

Kemp added that even if the DA is successful, the setting aside of the decision does not mean the charges will be re-instated.