Publication: City Press Issued: Date: 2004-10-09 Reporter: Wonder Hlongwa

Shaik Trial Prosecutor Faces Probe



City Press

Date 2004-10-09


Wonder Hlongwa

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Advocate Billy Downer SC, the lawyer leading the prosecution team in the trial of Deputy President Jacob Zuma's financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, is himself the subject of a criminal investigation .

This comes from his failed prosecution of former Scorpions member and current Pietermaritzburg magistrate Ashwin Singh.

Singh instituted criminal investigation procedures against the former head of the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA), Bulelani Ngcuka, and other NPA top officials, including Downer, Percy Sonn, Chris MacAdam and Clifford Marion in November last year, immediately after his prosecution was stayed.

Singh was dismissed from the Scorpions and charged with defeating the ends of justice in connection with his investigation of the violence in Richmond in 1999 .

However, during the trial the magistrate complained about the way the Scorpions conducted themselves when investigating Singh.

Senior Superintendent Beyers Marx from the provincial commissioner's office confirmed he was the investigating officer in Singh's matter. He could not be drawn on the details of the matter as no one has been charged. Marx reports directly to National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi.

NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said: "There is nothing criminal at all against Billy [Downer]. He just prosecuted a case that was brought to him. If you remember the magistrate [Fred de Beer] complained about the investigation and what Chris MacAdam did. Billy [Downer] has nothing to do with it."

Singh has charged that Downer's conduct in court was "unethical, unprofessional and it appears that he defeated the ends of justice".

With acknowledgements to Wonder Hlongwa and the City Press.