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Fraudster Schabir Shaik was convicted unfairly and was used as a "dry run" by the State ahead of charges being laid against ex-deputy president Jacob Zuma, his lawyer told the Constitutional Court. "It was thoroughly, completely unfair for one man to be used as a dry run by the State while his co-conspirators were available to stand trial," Shaik’s defence counsel Martin Brassey argued yesterday.

His bone of contention was that Shaik stood trial and is serving a 15-year-jail sentence in the absence of his co-conspirators — former deputy president Zuma and French Arms deal boss Alain Thetard, of Thint Companies. "Can you imagine the quality of the trial if the country’s deputy president Jacob Zuma entered the dock and said I want to tell you that Shaik helped me comrade to comrade and that he was my best friend?" asked Brassey. Shaik is applying for leave to appeal against his convictions on two counts of corruption and one of fraud.

The charges related to payments that Shaik made to former deputy president Jacob Zuma in order to secure political influence.

"None of you will leave this Bench without knowing that what happened to Shaik was unfair," said a visibly emotional Brassey. "It was thoroughly, completely unfair for one man to be used as a dry run by the State when his co-conspirators were available," he said while banging his hands on the podium.


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