Public interest in Jacques Pauw book could trump criminal charges, says lawyer

A lawyer believes that there is a strong case to be made to protect investigative journalist Jacques Pauw from criminal prosecution over his book.

Pauw has penned an explosive book, which implicates President Jacob Zuma in tax evasion, among other things.

The President's Keepers claims Zuma received R1 million a month from a security company without declaring it to the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

Media and information law expert Ben Winks says the documents and information disclosed in the book could constitute public interest in court.

Read: Sars considers legal action against Jacques Pauw and Sunday Times

This comes as the State Security Agency (SSA) and Sars threaten legal action against Pauw.

The SSA has sent a cease and desist letter the author and his publisher, claiming that the revelations in the book are in violation of the Intelligence Services Act.

The SSA says it will go to court to interdict any further distribution, printing, publishing or promotion of the book.

LISTEN: Jacques Pauw defends credibility of tax evasion claims in Zuma book

Winks says the publisher is not in breach of any law and explains that Pauw's sources are protected under media law.

If there is an overwhelming public interest in the disclosure of the information, then it cannot be kept secret.

Ben Winks, Media and Constitutional law expert

There's a strong case to be made that disclosure is protected, at least from criminal prosecution.

Ben Winks, Media and Constitutional law expert

There's nothing that these agencies can do to the publisher and author, expect if they lay a complaint of a criminal leak.

Ben Winks, Media and Constitutional law expert

Take a listen to the legal analysis:


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