Zuma's lawyer accuses prosecutor Downer of leaking information to a journalist

The court heard arguments from Jacob Zuma's legal team on Tuesday on how Downer was guilty of criminal conduct and should be removed from the prosecution.

FILE: Jacob Zuma’s legal team and senior State prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer exchange a few words in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 23 February 2021. Picture: Nkosikhona Duma/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - Legal counsel for former President Jacob Zuma is expected to continue their arguments on Wednesday for prosecutor Billy Downer to be removed from the corruption case in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Zuma and arms maker Thales face fraud, graft and racketeering charges related to the 1999 arms deal.

He is currently out on medical parole after serving just a few months of a 15-month sentence at the Estcourt Correctional Centre for contempt.

The court heard arguments from Zuma's legal team on Tuesday on how Downer was guilty of criminal conduct and should be removed from the prosecution.

Zuma’s medical parole records also came under the spotlight with calls for them to be released to the court.

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His legal team doesn’t just want Downer removed; they also want the entire case dropped.

Zuma’s lawyer Dali Mpofu said discussing the case and leaking information to a journalist was reason enough to remove Downer.

Mpofu said Downer also failed to report misconduct by the prosecution.

“There is no doubt that there was widespread corruption, misconduct, even criminality, which accompanied at least political meddling, this is the fourth one, in the activities of the NPA,” according to Mpofu.

But Advocate Wim Trengove responded saying Downer should be praised and not insulted.

“My learned friend frequently based their attacks on incomplete or one-sided selection of facts with an added dollop of hyperbole and insult to malign Mr Downer for actively innocent conduct."

Trengove also accused Zuma’s defence of bringing up old complaints that failed in previous applications.

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