Tables turned on Zuma ally

2008-09-05 00:00

The state yesterday turned the tables on magistrate Ashin Singh, refusing to allow him to withdraw an application seeking to declare Zuma trial state advocate Billy Downer SC unfit to prosecute the case.

In a notice of opposition, he has been accused of “litigious paranoia” and of bringing the application purely to embarrass Downer and generate adverse publicity about him.

Downer’s legal team yesterday wrote to Singh’s lawyers demanding a “complete and unequivocal” withdrawal of allegations of “misconduct and dishonesty” made by Singh against Downer and former KZN Scorpions boss Chris MacAdam before they will agree to let Singh withdraw the application — the papers for which are already before Zuma trial Judge Chris Nicholson.

The letter states that Singh made serious allegations against officers of the court in a case of national and international importance and that it is in the interests of justice that they either be withdrawn “unequivocally with a suitable apology” or that their veracity be tested in court.

The letter demands that Singh pay the costs of the application, including costs of two counsel, and notes that Downer’s and MacAdam’s rights “with reference to the defamatory matter” are reserved.

“Your client must agree that this letter be placed before the judge hearing your application to withdraw the main application,” it adds.

The state’s attitude is that the “purported notice of withdrawal” is ineffective because the matter was set down for hearing on September 12 and therefore can’t be unilaterally withdrawn without the consent of the court and parties, and because it is said to be directed at the director of the public prosecutions “who is not a party to the court proceedings”.

The state’s notice of opposition attacks Singh’s application as being “fatally defective” on a number of technical grounds and premature, because Nicholson will rule on September 12 if the current decision to prosecute Zuma must be set aside.

The notice of opposition filed by the state dismisses the allegations against Downer and MacAdam as false. It says Singh made the same allegations in other cases in which they were dismissed.

The state says Singh “lacks the attributes of an amicus curiae [friend of the court]” because he is “engaged in a vendetta” against Downer “which has so clouded his judgment that he will be unable to provide the independent and objective assistance expected of an amicus curiae”.

Further, he is accused of having delayed the issue and service of the papers and of offering or delivering copies to the media “in a deliberate attempt to generate adverse publicity against Downer …”

The notice lists the people against whom Singh has made allegedly “false” allegations, including former national director of publc prosecutions Bulelani Ngcukaand and his successor, Vusi Pikoli, the late Percy Sonn (ex-deputy NDPP), Downer, MacAdam and a number of senior police officers.

He has also taken or threatened to take his complaints to the president, the deputy president, the national commissioner of police, the public protector, minister of Justice, Parliament, Cosatu, the United Nations and the Bar Council.

“The actions of the applicant have the hallmarks of litigious paranoia with no end to the lengths to which he will go to pursue his vendetta” against Downer and others he perceives to have wronged him, the notice states.

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