Thales won’t receive fair trial, court told

JOHANNESBURG – The French arms firm accused of bribing former President Jacob Zuma said that while it admitted that its application for a permanent stay of prosecution was radical and far-reaching, it was also an appropriate and just remedy for the company.Thales wrapped up its arguments in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday, arguing that the corruption case against the company be dismissed.The company is facing charges of bribing the former president for protection from an investigation into the controversial arms deal.Advocate Anton Katz told judges that Thales must be granted a permanent stay of prosecution because the unreasonable delays to getting its case to trial have prejudiced the company to the point that it would not receive a fair trial.“Why is there a delay of nine years to which Thales has no fault at all, and in those circumstances, we submit that a permanent stay is appropriate.”He also argued that former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams’s 2017 decision to reinstate charges against the company was unlawful because Thales was never given the opportunity to make representations on why it shouldn’t be charged.“One, he didn’t have the power; two, if he did have the power, then he exercised the power in non-compliance with the policy, and three, it was irrational on its face.”The firm also argued that it was irrational for it to be automatically added as an accused along with Zuma when the withdrawal decision which was reviewed and set aside only related to Zuma.WATCH: NPA abused its power, violated and delayed processes – ThalesSource: EWN

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