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Sikhala awaits ruling on application

by Staff reporter
20 Jul 2022 at 06:35hrs | Views
Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala faces a second potential charge of defeating or obstructing the course of justice over his alleged posts on social media after the death of Moreblessing Ali.

The State wants Sikhala, who is remanded in custody on charges of allegedly inciting violence over the death of Ms Ali, formally remanded on this second charge as well.

Harare regional magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje is tomorrow expected to rule on the State's application, with Sikhala opposing the application on the grounds he is already appearing on another charge over the same incident and that in any case there was no evidence that an offence had been committed in the new charge.

He allegedly posted utterances on social media which could hinder police investigations into the murder of Moreblessing Ali in the Nyatsime area. The State led by Mr Tafara Chirambira and Mr Silent Shoko told the court that there was reasonable suspicion that Sikhala committed the alleged offence.

Through his lawyers, Ms Beatrice Mtetwa and Mr Jeremiah Bamu, Sikhala challenged his placement on remand saying there was unnecessary splitting of charges, as he was appearing on a separate charge that arose from the same incident and that he was speaking on behalf of Ms Ali's family and was legally executing his duties as a lawyer.

He told the court that he was hired by Ali's family as a family lawyer. Ms Mtetwa told the court that the allegations faced by Sikhala do not disclose an offence as there was no attempt to indicate which section of the statement constituted an offence. Police had already issued statements regarding progress on investigations and there was no way he could have obstructed them in conducting their duties.

Ms Mtetwa also sought to distance Sikhala from the videos claiming there was no such video posted on the ZimLive website. Someone called Siziba posted the video on YouTube days after Sikhala had been arrested.

The State, in its response, said there was no unnecessary splitting of charges as the charges stem from different evidence. Mr Chirambira said Sikhala's claims were triable issues, which would be looked at when the trial opens.

Both matters were still under investigation and no one is certain how much evidence would be gathered from investigations. "At this remand stage the test is, as provided at law, to see whether there is a nexus and reasonable suspicion to place the accused on remand.

"At this stage, as we all agreed, (we need) to look whether the offence is recognisable at law. At this stage the answer is on the positive," he said.

Sikhala also lost his bid to have an order barring the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) from releasing him into the hands of the police without his lawyers.

This was after Mr Mambanje said there was need for the court to be furnished with full facts of the allegations before making a determination.

Source - The Herald
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