Billy Downer’s conduct is sordid, Zuma’s lawyers tell court

Former President Jacob Zuma's lawyers made further submissions in his special plea to have prosecutor Billy Downer removed from his corruption case.

The NPA team led by Adv. Billy Downer in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrates Court on 8 December 2020 for the case against former President Jacob Zuma and Thales. Picture: Nkosikhona Duma/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Jacob Zuma's lawyers have described top prosecutor Billy Downer’s conduct as “sordid” as they wrapped up their case on Wednesday.

Zuma made further submissions in his special plea to have Downer removed from his corruption case.

Zuma and French company, Thales, are charged with corruption in connection with the arms deal.

The former’s president’s legal team said that he deserved to be tried by a prosecutor who was not overzealous and who was sufficiently detached from the case.

Dali Mpofu has accused Downer of leaking information about the case to a journalist and for failing to be impartial.

“Mr Downer’s innocent conduct that we are maligning, this is the kind of thing he was involved in. It’s sordid if you ask me and it amounts to criminal activity,” Mpofu said.

Wim Trengove responded, saying that Zuma had failed to make a case for prosecutor Downer’s removal.

"Instead, the applicant has relied on speculative newspaper articles to make the case that the crime was politically motivated. All that is before us is speculation and conjecture,” Trengove said.

The case has been adjourned to 26 October for judgment.

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