Press Says Head Of South Africa’s DPP Plagarizes HK Judge

One of the odder stories we’ve seen this month…we wonder who’s advising the head of South Africa’s DPP….

The head of the South African DPP Moketedi Mpshe has announced his decision to drop charges against ANC president Jacob Zuma. In his statement setting out the grounds for his decision Mpshe cited various (mainly foreign) legal rulings.

Take a look at the full story at    to see all the details

In the main Mpshe has plagarized a ruling handed down by Justice Conrad Seagroatt of the Hong Kong High Court on December 13 2002

Politics Web South Africa reports:

One section is headed "The abuse of process – the perennial dilemma" and it – rather strikingly – cites all the British Commonwealth judgments that Mpshe’s statement referred to. Even more strikingly the phrases quoted are almost all the same as well – give or take some self-serving summarising, truncation and rewriting by the NPA

Most strikingly of all are Justice Seagrott’s concluding remarks. These seem to presage by some six-and-a-half years – almost to the word – the Mpshe comments quoted above.(see link)

"It is against this evolved statement of broad principle" Seagrott wrote, "that the prosecution’s failures and shortcomings with regard to disclosure must be seen and tested. Those for close consideration are best summed up by such expressions as ‘so gravely wrong’, ‘gross neglect of the elementary principles of fairness’, ‘so unfair and wrong’, ‘misusing or manipulating the process of the court’. If those failures can properly be so categorized, are they such as to make it unconscionable that a re-trial should go forward?" (My emphasis)

It is rather remarkable how Mpshe’s opinion of McCarthy so closely resembles that of Justice Seagrott’s opinion of the prosecution in his case in Hong Kong. Their conclusions are rather similar as well. Just as Mpshe decided that "an intolerable abuse has occurred which compels a discontinuation of the prosecution", Seagrott ruled that "the failures constitute an intolerable abuse which compel intervention. Accordingly I order a permanent stay on these proceedings."

Incidentally, the Seagrott ruling was overturned on appeal. In its judgment the Court of Final Appeal noted, that the court must take account  "of the public expectation that persons charged with serious criminal offences will be brought to trial unless there is some powerful reason for not doing so."