Zuma Charges Advocate Billy Downer and Journalist for Allegedly Working Together to Publish Medical Records

Zuma Charges Advocate Billy Downer and Journalist for Allegedly Working Together to Publish Medical Records

  • Former President Jacob Zuma has laid charges against State Advocate Billy Downer and journalist Karyn Maughan
  • His legal team claims that the pair worked together to publish Zuma's "leaked" medical records last year
  • Downer and Maughan were served with summons and will appear in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in October

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DURBAN - Former President Jacob Zuma has opted to launch a private prosecution against State Advocate Billy Downer and News24 journalist Karyn Maughan. The pair were served with summons on Tuesday, 6 September.

Former President Jacob Zuma
Former President Jacob Zuma has laid charges against Advocate Billy Downer and a journalist. Image: Jerome Delay
Source: Getty Images

The charge is related to the publication of Zuma’s medical condition last year. The publication claims that details surrounding his medical condition were attached to court papers lodged at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.

The former president believes that publishing his medical details was in violation of sections of the National Prosecuting Act. His legal team claims that the state advocate leaked the court information to Maughan.

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Downer and the journalist are set to appear in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Monday, 10 October. However, the publication maintains its innocence, and according to News24, editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson, the private prosecution was an attempt to “bully” Maughan and the publication.

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Basson said court papers are public documents and, therefore, the private prosecution is a “cynical attack” on media freedom in the country. Basson said Maughan was doing her job and would continue to report on Zuma’s criminal case.

According to The Citizen, Zuma’s medical details were written in a letter by Brigadier Mcebisi Mdutywa while he was imprisoned for contempt of court. The letter stated that Zuma suffered a traumatic injury and needed emergency treatment.

South Africans react to Zuma’s private prosecution:

@SeanDWaters said:

“News24 and Karyn Maughan must lay a counter prosecution against Zuma!”

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@nnnkabind commented:

“I think he has a right to privacy like any other human being if you publish an individual’s medical records without their concerns it’s unlawful!”

@jaleroux2004 wrote:

“Poor man…. He does not have money to pay VBS for his house loan but he has money to waste on frivolous litigations. Shocking he operates!”

Arms deal: Jacob Zuma may lay criminal charges against NPA official who leaked his doctor’s letter

In a related matter, Briefly News also reported one of the pressing issues at former President Jacob Zuma’s arms deal special plea hearing at the High Court sitting in Pietermaritzburg was who leaked a letter from Zuma’s medical doctor.

On the second day of court proceedings, Advocate Dali Mpofu told the court that Zuma may file criminal charges against lead prosecutor Billy Downer.

This came up in court as Zuma’s team continued to argue for the removal of Downer from the case.

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Source: Briefly News

Authors:
Bianca Lalbahadur avatar

Bianca Lalbahadur Bianca Lalbahadur is a current affairs journalist at Briefly News. With a knack for writing hard-hitting content, she is dedicated to being the eyes and ears of South Africans. As a young and vibrant journalist, Bianca is passionate about providing quality and factual stories that impact citizens. She graduated from the Independent Institute of Education in 2017 and has worked at several award-winning Caxton associated community newspapers.

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