Bethuel Zuma discharge ruling due

2013-11-26 21:19
Bethuel Zuma (Picture: Sapa)

Bethuel Zuma (Picture: Sapa)

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Pietermaritzburg - A ruling on an application by senior police officer Lieutenant General Bethuel Zuma for a discharge on charges including driving under the influence will be given next week.

The State opposed the application in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, saying Zuma's alleged offences were committed five years ago and variations in details could be expected from State witnesses.

The gist of the State's evidence was that a prima facie case existed against Zuma.

On 31 August Zuma was appointed Gauteng's new police commissioner, replacing Mzwandile Petros. Hours later, he was removed from the post after it emerged that the criminal case against him was still pending.

Zuma has pleaded not guilty to charges of failing to stop when ordered to, driving under the influence, attempting to escape from custody, and defeating the ends of justice.

His lawyer Sergie Brimiah cited differences in evidence given by traffic officers against Zuma.

Brimiah said the State witnesses must have discussed the incident as some of the evidence was tailored to bolster the State's case.

Zuma's defence was that he suspected the roadblock which he drove through, in Pietermaritzburg in December 2008, and the officers manning it, were bogus.

On Tuesday, prosecutor Kwazi Zimu said the gist of evidence given by traffic officers was that Zuma drove through a roadblock, and when he was found, officers believed he was over the alcohol limit.

He said a portable breathalyser showed he was far over the legal limit, and when they wanted to take him to their head office for a blood alcohol test, Zuma escaped.

He evaded an officer, who tried to handcuff him, and could not be found until two hours after he went through the roadblock.

By then it was too late to subject him to a blood alcohol test that would stand up in court, argued the State.

Zimu said when evidence was poor the court would rely on credibility. In this instance, there was acceptable evidence proving Zuma was guilty of ignoring the roadblock, driving under the influence, and escaping.

The ruling on the application would be handed down next Tuesday.

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