Judge Chris Nicholson, the man who effectively turned the country’s political lanscape upside down with his September 12 ruling, will on Wednesday again face the two legal teams as the National Prosecuting Authority argues for leave to appeal his judgment.

Nicholson ruled that the State’s decision to prosecute African National Congress president Jacob Zuma was unlawful because the state had failed to take representation from Zuma.

When the judgement became known, thousands celebrated outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court and within weeks Thabo Mbeki stepped down as president of the country.

While the High Court in Durban will be besieged with media personnel on Wednesday, there is no expectation of the same masses of Zuma supporters that congregated outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court. ANC spokesman Steyn Speed said Zuma will not be attending the proceedings as he is out of the country.

Zuma’s legal team though have said they will oppose the application. In its papers filed on September 30, the NPA listed 16 grounds for appealing Nicholson’s September 12 judgement, including the fact that it did not believe that Nicholson had grounds to rule on the establishment of an arms deal inquiry or to comment on then president Thabo Mbeki’s decision to dismiss Zuma as deputy president of the country.

It also opposes Zuma’s claim that he was entitled to representation before being charged.

Zuma faced a charge each of racketeering and money laundering, two charges of corruption and 12 charges of fraud related to the multi-billion rand government arms deal.

He was charged in 2005, but the case was struck from the roll in 2006. He was recharged in December 2007.

In its application the NPA states 16 grounds that it has for appeal including the fact that it believes that “the court erred in holding that the NDPP had to request and consider representations from the applicant” prior to the 2005 decision by former NPA boss Vusi Pikoli and the December 2007 decision to prosecute Zuma.

The NPA maintained in its papers that there had been no review of the decision to prosecute Zuma but that it “was a fresh decision taken after the prosecution started by the Pikoli decision had been terminated by the order of Msimang J striking the matter from the roll in September 2006.”

The NPA, in the papers signed by state prosecutor Anton Steynburg, claimed the court had “committed an irregularity” when Nicholson held that a commission of inquiry should be established to investigate the arms deal.

Zuma’s legal team have said they will oppose the application and on Monday Zuma’s attorney Michael Hulley lodged an affidavit relating to the State’s unsuccessful attempt to strike out certain sections of Zuma’s founding affidavit.

Should Nicholson decide not to grant the State leave to appeal, it will still have the option of petitioning the Supreme Court of Appeal.