Zuma loses bid to prosecute Karyn Maughan and Billy Downer

Karyn Maughan and prosecutor Billy Downer seated and having a conversation in the dock of the court.

State prosecutor Billy Downer and journalist Karyn Maughan in court. File Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Published Jun 7, 2023


Cape Town - Judgment in the case brought by former president Jacob Zuma against veteran journalist Karyn Maughan and State prosecutor advocate Billy Downer, SC, has been handed down on Wednesday.

In the judgment delivered in the Pietermaritzburg High Court in KwaZulu-Natal, it was decided by the court a private prosecution cannot be taken against Maughan and Downer.

This comes after Zuma, led by his counsel, advocate Dali Mpofu, SC, tried taking action against Downer and Maughan after he opened a criminal case in 2021, alleged Downer, the State’s lead prosecutor in the marathon corruption trial against the former president, had unlawfully leaked his medical records, including a doctor’s note to Maughan.

Zuma insists that the actions of Downer and Maughan were in contravention of the National Prosecuting Authority Act, but the NPA declined to prosecute, IOL previously reported.

In the judgment handed down by the court, the court interdicted and restrained Zuma from proceeding with or from taking any further steps to privately prosecute Maughan and Downer.

Zuma has also been ordered to cover all costs incurred.

“The costs of this application are to be paid by the Respondent on an attorney and own client scale, such costs to include the costs of two counsel where so employed,” the judgment read.

Maughan could not contain her happiness at the judgment and, on Twitter, shared the news with all her followers.


With costs!!! [sic]”

With nearly 30 000 views and over 300 retweets, tweeps rejoiced at the win in court.

One follower, @IvoVegter, said: “Congratulations! Justice has been done. Now sue the bastard. [sic]”.

A tweep also commended the judiciary; @sheroda wrote: “Thank God we still have upstanding and reputable judges, for the most part. Well done [sic]”.

[email protected]