The ‘fruits of a poisoned tree’ doctrine used by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the #GuptaLeaks case isn’t valid in South African law, Wits University Associate Professor James Grant said on Monday.
Reports on Sunday said prosecutors guiding the investigation into state capture believe the emails don’t constitute evidence against President Jcob Zuma’s friends, the Guptas, or any ministers or individuals implicated.
The _City Press _is reporting two senior prosecutors, including a top Hawks official, don’t think the emails will be admitted into evidence because prosecutors and investigators believe they were ‘stolen’.
Fruits of a poisoned tree is an American doctrine, which doesn’t exist in our law and what it effectively means in the US is that if evidence is obtained by a virtue of, for instance an unlawful search, then that evidence may not be used no matter what.— James Grant, Wits Law Professor
In South Africa, the position is quite different. A court has a discretion whether to admit that as evidence, even though it has unlawfully been obtained.— James Grant, Wits Law Professor
James says prosecutor can’t decide on their own.
The prosecutor would make the argument that the court ought to admit the evidence in the interests of justice, even though it was obtained unlawfully. They would point to the fact that the interest of justice demands it— James Grant, Wits Law Professor
This article first appeared on 702 : NPA ‘stolen’ #GuptaLeaks claim won’t stand in SA law