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Zuma says Downer must step aside due to private prosecution, Downer argues arms deal trial should go ahead

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Billy Downer at Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday.
Billy Downer at Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday.
Gallo Images/Darren Stewart

Former president Jacob Zuma wants State advocate Billy Downer - who he previously tried and failed to remove - to step aside from his corruption case because of the private prosecution he has launched against him and this writer.

Downer has, however, denied claims by Zuma's advocate, Nqabayethu Buthelezi, that he had an ethical obligation to step down as the lead prosecutor in the case because of the charges levelled against him, which both he and this writer are challenging in separate court applications.

"There are no such [ethical reasons], particularly in instances where, we say, an application has no merits, where we say this had none and continues to have none," he told Judge Piet Koen on Monday in the Kwazulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

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