Democracy In Action has argued at the Pietermaritzburg High Court that journalist, Karyn Maughan, is trying to escape prosecution, using Section 16 of the Constitution, which stipulates that everyone has a right to freedom of speech.
The organisation is acting as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) in support of former President Jacob Zuma in his private prosecution matter.
Zuma alleges that Advocate Billy Downer leaked his medical records to Maughan. These records were attached to court documents in his arms deal corruption trial.
Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana for the DIA has argued that Maughan’s application to set aside Zuma’s private prosecution against her, is an abuse of Section 16 of the Constitution.
Senior counsel Steven Budlender for Maughan told the court that the matter is an abuse of process and was Zuma’s attempt to silence her as a journalist.
The court heard that the medical records were never marked as confidential.
Budlender says the application to set aside Zuma’s private prosecution against Maughan is because there was no certificate issued by the NPA declining to prosecute her, as is required for a private prosecution.
He says, “You look at that letter, you look at what was disclosed, and you look at the circumstances, and there is no injury, so we submit that and we make the following that we could not find, the letter was not intended to be confidential nor it is in fact confidential, and it is confidential when it was filed.”
“It is difficult to understand how seriously it can be contended that the substantial injury requirement is met, for those reasons, justices, we seek a similar order to Mr. Downer. We seek both an order to set aside the summons because otherwise, we know what happens, the case is brought again and again.”
The matter has been adjourned to Wednesday.
Jacob Zuma, Downer and Maughan back in court