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DA calls for court to review spy tapes

This was among the DA’s submissions on day 3 of the so-called spy tapes saga in court.

Advocate Sean Rosenberg addresses the court during the Zuma spy tapes case. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

PRETORIA - The Democratic Alliance (DA) legal team has argued that the court must consider the contents of the so-called Spy Tapes to establish whether their interpretation warranted the withdrawal of charges against President Jacob Zuma.

This was among the DA's submissions on day three of the party's application to have the decision set aside.

Former prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe withdrew the charges in 2009 after accepting representations from Zuma.

They included the secret recordings of Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy, which revealed he made political considerations when deciding on when to serve the indictment of Zuma.

Advocate Sean Rosenberg argued that the court shouldn't be bound by the inferences that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)'s Willie Hofmeyr drew from the recordings.

"This court must and can look at those tapes to see whether the facts are as Mr Mpshe concluded they were. Was he perhaps making his decision on an apprehension of the facts which was incorrect in any material way?"

The DA has further argued that stopping the prosecution of the president was an inappropriate means to address McCarthy's misconduct.

Rosenberg said that when misconduct is insignificantly related to the prosecution, appropriate means should be used to sanction the guilty party.

"You don't just look around and say it provides a useful tool to deal with Mr McCarthy for example. If Mr McCarthy's conduct was the problem, there may be other ways to deal with Mr McCarthy."

At the same time, he says Mpshe made no attempt to balance up the various factors before making his decision to withdraw the charges.

"There was no attempt to have regard to the seriousness of the charges."

The president's legal team has argued that the timing of the charges laid against him was an attempt to undermine the governance structures of the country by attempting to engineer a political outcome at the African National Congress's (ANC) conference.

Judgment has been reserved.