High Court in Pietermaritzburg refuse former president Jacob Zuma’s motion for leave to appeal

The High Court in Pietermaritzburg has refused former president Jacob Zuma’s motion for leave to appeal the decision of his special plea, opening the way for his trial to begin in April.
Judge Piet Koen determined in an eight-part decision that the arms trade trial should proceed, with Advocate Billy Downer retaining the prosecutor.
Downer had been pulled from the case by Zuma’s legal team, who claimed prosecutorial misconduct. They allege Downer has acted unethically as a prosecutor in at least a dozen cases and are certain that another court, possibly the Supreme Court of Appeal, would concur and order his replacement.
Judge Piet Koen found that Jacob Zuma’s special plea has no reasonable prospects of success.
“Resorting to appeals prior to the finalisation of the trial results in delay, fragmentation of the process and the determination of issues based on an inadequate record. There are no compelling considerations to the contrary requiring that an appeal be permitted now,” Judge Koen said.
But it’s not all bad news for Zuma as the judge added that he could still challenge the outcome of the trial at a later stage.
Koen said that Zuma could still challenge the court outcome at a later stage.
“That does not mean that Mr Zuma could not ultimately appeal the dismissal of the special plea but only that he cannot do so now. The trial must first be completed,” he said.
Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering, and money-laundering related to the controversial multi-billion rand arms deal in the late 1990s.
The former president is alleged to have received 783 suspicious payments to the tune of R1.2 million from Thales, through his disgraced former financial advisor Shabir Shaik.
Zuma has denied the allegations and claims they are politically motivated.

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