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Zuma's Appeal Against Downer, Maughan Dismissed: A Blow for the Former President

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

Former South African President, Jacob Zuma's quest to seek justice took a hit when an application challenging the overturn of his private prosecution against Advocate Billy Downer and journalist Karyn Maughan was turned down. Zuma presented his appeal in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, with hopes of quashing the court’s order that instantly declared the revoking of his private prosecution against Downer and Maughan enforceable. Unfortunately, his appeal was flatly dismissed by a full bench of the high court, forcing him to bear the costs of this legal setback.

The ruling was delivered by Judge Gregory Kruger, who deemed Zuma’s appeal devoid of merits. Reaffirming the solidity of the court’s original reasons and conclusions, Kruger doubted if another court would arrive at a different resolution.

The alleged fabrication of evidence against Maughan by Zuma was cited by Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, Maughan's representative. The advocate referenced his client's affidavit where she claimed Zuma would do all in his power to defame her and falsely implicate her in misconducts.

Previously in August, the same court upheld its decision from June 7 and deemed Zuma's private prosecution as unlawful. This saw the dismissal of the case in question until the determination of Zuma’s application to appeal was finalized.

Downer and Maughan reacted to the fresh judgment by filing an enforcement appeal, seeking to restrain Zuma from further pursuing private prosecution against them. Downer, the lead prosecutor in Zuma's arms deal corruption trial, and Maughan were accused of disclosing Zuma's confidential medical information in contravention of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Act.

The duo challenged this prosecution on grounds asserting that Zuma's medical record was public information through court documents and lacked confidentiality. Zuma and the French arms company, Thales, remain embroiled in charges involving fraud, racketeering, and money laundering, all connected to the multibillion-rand arms deal in 1999.

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