Zuma corruption trial to resume in April after Downer appeal bid fails

Judge Piet Koen on Wednesday morning dismissed Jacob Zuma’s application to appeal in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

FILE: Former South African President Jacob Zuma stands in the dock during the recess of his corruption trial at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on 26 May 2021. Picture: Phill Magakoe/AFP

PIETERMARITZBURG - Former President Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial is set to resume in April after he lost his application to have prosecutor Billy Downer removed from the case.

Judge Piet Koen on Wednesday morning dismissed Zuma’s application to appeal in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Zuma’s lawyers previously argued that Downer would unfairly prosecute their client.

Wednesday’s proceedings resumed with Judge Koen reading out the summary of his 60-page judgment.

He dismissed Zuma’s application to appeal his October 2021 judgment to the Supreme Court.

And as previously argued by the State, Koen agreed that an appeal before the end of the trial would delay matters.

"I then considered the State's arguments that an appeal against the dismissal of the special plea at this stage of the trial prior to conviction would not be competent," Judge Koen said.

Koen said that the trial should go on.

"The criminal trial shall proceed during the second and third terms of the 2022 court calendar of this court, where it has been set down as previously agreed by all the parties, commencing at 10am on the 11th of April 2022," the judge said.

All parties, including the former president, are expected to be in court when trial resumes.

WATCH: Zuma's bid to remove prosecutor Downer from corruption case denied