Spy Tapes appeal: Judge says NPA has ‘steep hill’ to climb

The NPA and Jacob Zuma have approached the Supreme Court to challenge the High Court's decision that the withdrawal of charges against the president was irrational.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma answers questions in Parliament. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

BLOEMFONTEIN - The opening session of the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) appeal against the withdrawal of criminal charges against President Jacob Zuma has focused on a legal technicality, namely that of whether a prosecutions boss can review his own decision.

The NPA and Zuma have approached the Supreme Court in Bloemfontein to challenge the High Court's decision that the withdrawal of charges against the president was irrational.

Former acting prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe withdrew the charges in 2009 after considering representations from Zuma.

But the High Court in Pretoria set aside the decision last year on grounds that it was irrational.

WATCH: Proceedings at the Supreme Court

The NPA’s advocate Hilton Epstein told the court that he was duty-bound to raise an issue he identified while drafting his arguments.

He referred to Mpshe’s decision to withdraw the charges against Zuma, which was a review of the former NDPP’s decision.

Case law holds that an NDPP can’t review their own decision.

It’s understood that this aspect of the case has been overlooked in the eight years it has traversed various courts.

Justice Mahomed Navsa noted that this submission created a very steep hill for Epstein to climb.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)