Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
The trial of Schabir Shaik was a "dry run" by the state to see whether it would succeed in prosecuting ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma, the constitutional court heard yesterday.
The prosecution did not try them jointly because there was not enough evidence to do so. Instead, they prosecuted Shaik based on reasons that were "entirely spurious", said Shaik's defence counsel, Martin Brassey SC.
The court should have challenged the prosecution's decision and should have been demanded reasons for separating the cases. It was grossly unfair that Shaik was "the bait", Brassey said.
Brassey contended it was wrong for the prosecution to separate trials merely for tactical reasons to obtain a strategic advantage. He further argued it was not for the defence to challenge the prosecution's decisions where it had not discharged its duties.
Pressed to explain how Zuma's absence had prejudiced Shaik, Brassey told the court that, had Zuma appeared, it would have been as the deputy president of the country entering the dock to tell the court: "This is how it is between Shaik and me."
Zuma might have testified that he was a friend of Shaik, who had helped him "comrade- to-comrade" and "as a father helps a son".
Brassey argued before the highest court in the country that Shaik had been "mistried" in that the trial was in breach of "constitutional guarantees against punishment without due course of law".
Shaik was convicted on two counts of corruption and one of fraud and sentenced to 15 years in prison. - Sapa