In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
The trial of Schabir Shaik was not a "dry run" for the prosecution of ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma, the Constitutional C ourt heard yesterday .
"It's just not true," submitted Wim Trengove, appearing for the state in an application by Shaik for leave to appeal his conviction of corruption and fraud, his 15-year prison sentence and the seizure of his assets.
"It does seem to me it would be improper to structure a trial for that ulterior purpose," Trengove contended, but added that this had not been the prosecution's intention in trying Shaik alone.
The state had been optimistic about its strong case against Shaik, but pessimistic about its weak case against Zuma. In this case, it was "entirely proper" to try the one first, before proceeding with the prosecution of the other.
Trengove described Shaik's Constitutional Court action as a cynical attempt by someone who had finally reached a "dead end" in the case.
Shaik was convicted on two counts of corruption and one of fraud on June 2 2005 in the Durban high court. He was later sentenced to 15 years in prison. The supreme court of appeal upheld the conviction and sentence on November 6 2006.
Trengove stated that Shaik's counsel had not complained about the failure to charge Zuma and Thint [French arms company], but about the prosecution of Shaik in the absence of Zuma and Thint.
It was not the duty of the prosecution to structure a case in a way that was most beneficial to the accused, Trengove said.
He dismissed as a "flight of fantasy" Shaik's counsel's picture of how differently the case might have been had Zuma testified.
There was no basis to suggest that this might have been the case. If it were true, he imagined Zuma would have been eager to come to court to rescue his "comrade, compatriot, father" .
He would not have "shirked" his friend in need. If for some inexplicable reason Zuma was unwilling to come to court, he could have been compelled by law to give his exculpatory evidence.
Trengove submitted that it was on the advice of his counsel that Shaik did not call Zuma and that the inference from this was either that his evidence would not support Shaik's version or that his version in support of Shaik would not have stood up to scrutiny. - Sapa