Call for Zuma to testify on ‘assault’

2011-04-19 11:27

There was a need for President Jacob Zuma to testify in the trial of a man accused of spilling his drink on him, the Durban Magistrates Court heard today.

“It is important for the victim [Zuma] to explain why this is considered be an assault,” submitted defence attorney Jimmy House.

The State alleges that Daryl Peense spilled his drink on Zuma during the Durban July horse race last year.

Peense, of Alberton, is a racehorse owner. He is charged with assault.

House brought an application for charges to be dropped, arguing that the state had failed to produce prima-facie evidence against Peense.

He told the court he found it strange that attempts were not made to ask the president if he felt the spilling of the “harmless drink” was an assault.

It seemed that Zuma was totally unaware of the “activity which was described as an assault on him”, said House.

“He [Zuma] made no complaint. I also don’t understand why the bodyguards did not consider the act as an assault on them,” said House.

Presidential protection unit officer Constable Funani Edgar Nemaenzhe and Captain Bongumusa Maphumulo who were with Zuma when the incident happened are not complainants.

They both gave evidence at the beginning of the trial.

House said that the state had failed to prove that the drop of liquid, which did not touch the president, was spilt intentionally.

It emerged last month that the liquid could have fallen on Zuma had it not been blocked by the bodyguard.

State prosecutor Thami Ntuli said there was no need for Zuma to appear in court as he was not going to “assist the court any further”.

He contended that the spilling of the drink was not a mistake, but a deliberate act.

The court was expected rule after lunch on the application for the withdrawal of the charges.

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