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Former President Jacob Zuma’s Private Prosecution against News 24 Journalist

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By Ebraheem Fredericks

Former President Jacob Zuma has launched a private prosecution against News24 journalist Karyn Maughan and State Advocate Billy Downer.

The Court charge concerns News24’s publication of Zuma’s medical condition which were attached to Court papers lodged at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg, last year.

Zuma’s legal team contends that Downer leaked the information to Maughan and that the publication violated sections of the National Prosecution Act.

Speaking to the Voice of the Cape on the Drivetime Show was News24 editor-in-chief: Adriaan Basson who labels this; ‘’an abuse of the court process.’’

‘’It’s shocking,’’ he said. ‘’At how a former president can go after a journalist through a criminal prosecution.’’

Last year Zuma received a 15-month sentence for contempt of court after he refused to attend the Zondo Commission.

One month later Brigadier Mcebesi Mdutywa wrote a letter informing prosecuting authorities that Zuma had suffered a ‘’traumatic injury’’ in November 2020 and needed ‘’extensive emergency treatment’’ with six months of recovery.

Maughan wrote about the letter because the papers were already published in court.

‘’Court papers are public records,’’ Basson stated. ‘’As soon as they are filed any journalist can go to the Court Register and request access to them.’’

‘’She did nothing wrong. News24 never divulged the details of the illness or nature of its emergency.’’

Basson said that News 24 intends to defend the matter and will provide Karyn Maughan with the best legal support she can get.

‘’Zuma is desperate and probably trying to delay his own case once again by going after a journalist and a prosecutor. It comes across as malicious and vindictive.’’

News24 is still in consultation with their legal teams about what to do and how to protect their journalists.

‘’It’s an abuse of the Court Process by Jacob Zuma,’’ Basson asserted. ‘’He’s trying to create something that doesn’t exist to distract from his court case and probably soon many cases emanating from the Zondo inquiry wherein he was the main actor.’’

Maughan and Downer are set to appear in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on 10 October 2022.

Photo sourced News24

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