Zuma to try and suppress evidence

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

ANC president Jacob Zuma and his defence team are determined to ensure that the evidence collected by the National Prosecuting Authority three years ago will not be used in his coming trial, the Constitutional Court was told yesterday.

Zuma is going on trial in August on charges of corruption, fraud and tax evasion.

NPA counsel Wim Trengrove said the applications were "about nothing else but the use of the evidence collected during the raids in the Zuma trial".

Trengrove also questioned the applicants' reasons for not waiting until the trial started and the question of the admissibility of such evidence arose.

He also suggested to the court that if the application failed now "it would give the administration of justice a bad name to allow the applicants to try and challenge the admissibility of the evidence during the trial".

Zuma, his lawyer Michael Hurley and Thint (the arms manufacturer from whom Zuma is alleged to have solicited a bribe), have launched an application in the Constitutional Court challenging the legality of the warrants issued in 2005 to raid their properties.

Hurley and Zuma argued that the warrants were vague and impinged on their right to privacy.

They also argued that the raids threatened Zuma's right to a fair trial by failing to protect the lawyer-client privilege existing between him and Hurley.

In his submission counsel for Thint, Peter Hodes, said there was no need for the warrants because Thint had previously cooperated with the Scorpions by providing information required.

He said the search warrants amounted to "a fishing expedition in the hope that the respondents might come across something to assist their investigation".

Hodes also said they were pursuing the application before the trial because the supreme court had previously ruled in favour of the state on the matter.

Zuma's counsel, Kemp J Kemp, also argued that the warrants were vague and undermined his and Zuma's client-lawyer privilege.