Former President Jacob Zuma has suffered another legal blow after the Pietermaritzburg High Court denied him leave to appeal its earlier ruling which set aside his private prosecution of state prosecutor Advocate Billy Downer and journalist Karyn Maughan.
Turning down Zuma’s application, the full bench ruled that there was no reasonable prospect of the Supreme Court of Appeal finding in Zuma’s favour.
Zuma’s application followed the full bench decision in July to grant Downer and Maughan an order, ruling that the private prosecution was unlawful and an abuse of process.
Zuma’s private prosecution against Downer and Maughan stems from the alleged leaking of a confidential doctor’s letter in the course of his arms deal trial.
In applying for leave to appea,l Zuma said the court was misdirected.
Advocate Dali Mpofu, Zuma’s counsel, told the court that members of the NPA cannot disclose private information and that prosecutors are refrained from making statements to the media.
Mpofu also says that unrestricted reporting had cast aspersions on Zuma and denied that the private prosecution could be seen as a delaying tactic on Zuma’s part.
In opposing Zuma’s application, Maughan’s legal counsel Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi called the application for leave to appeal scandalous, as it failed to engage with the findings.
Downer’s counsel Advocate Geoff Budlender told the court that Zuma had outlined in court papers that his private prosecution bid was solely about removing Downer as the prosecutor in his corruption trial.
Judge Gregory Kruger said there were no compelling reasons and no merits which substantiated the arguments presented in court and that a higher court would not come to another conclusion.
Video: Zuma’s application for leave to appeal