News24

'A victory for freedom of expression'

2012-11-18 14:13

Johannesburg - The decision by the High Court in Pretoria to allow the Sunday Times newspaper to publish an article on how President Jacob Zuma's corruption charges were dropped, represented a victory for freedom of expression, Sunday Times editor Ray Hartley said on Saturday.

"The judge [Nomsa Khumalo] ruled that the NPA had failed to argue that there were grounds for an urgent interdict against the newspaper and awarded costs to the Sunday Times," Hartley said in a statement.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) approached the court to halt the distribution of the paper's Sunday edition, which has a lead story on the spy tapes saga involving President Jacob Zuma and the subsequent dropping of corruption charges against him in 2009.

"The story included details of secret representations made by Zuma’s lawyers to the NPA and a series of internal memorandums in which top prosecutors argue strongly against dropping the charges, despite claims that the prosecution was tainted by political interference."

The NPA indicated that it intends bringing a fresh court action against the paper this week on the grounds that the documents were illegally obtained.

"This too will fail because the documents were leaked to the Sunday Times and are demonstrably in the public interest."

The NPA's attempts to protect certain political leaders from public scrutiny raised serious doubts about its ability to serve the public with the independence and integrity required of a prosecuting authority, said Hartley.