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Sikhala trial kicks off

Job Sikhala

THE trial of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislator Job Sikhala accused of obstructing the course of justice kicked off yesterday at the Harare Magistrates Court.

Sikhala, who is being represented by Jeremiah Bhamu, is accused of obstructing the course of justice at the funeral wake of slain CCC activist Moreblessing Ali in Nyatsime six months ago.

Yesterday, he denied the charge and challenged the legality of his arrest.

He said he had not been furnished with the State outline as required at law, but was only served with a flash disk containing a video relating to the second part of the State outline.

Bhamu said he had not been furnished with the video or any other evidence supporting the first portion of the transcript of the warned and cautioned statement.

“He has thus not been furnished with sufficient details as to enable him to answer to the charge as required by section 70(1)(6) of the Constitution. He has not been presented with adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence despite these deficiencies,” Bhamu submitted.

He said the charge against Sikhala amounted to improper splitting of charges, pertaining to the video which the State relies on, and the allegations in respect of which Sikhala stands trial under CRB ACC216-7/22.

Bhamu said the State could not multiply charges for what in reality is only one offence.

“The accused will contend that the charge levelled against him does not disclose an offence in that the State only alleges that the accused intended to mislead police investigations, but does not allege that there was actual obstruction. The section under which the accused is charged criminalises actual obstruction and not potential obstruction. The charge is based on alleged utterances made by the accused," he argued.

He also said the charge sheet did not allege that the police acted on that information, or how such information was acted upon, and that he never recorded or caused the video to be recorded and uploaded.

Bhamu also challenged the accuracy of the video transcript and said the video exhibits should never be tendered in court.

The complainant in the matter is the State represented by Edmore Runganga.

Allegations are that on October 25 this year, Sikhala addressed people telling them that Zanu PF supporters had murdered Ali.

The matter was postponed to December 13 for ruling.

  • Follow Desmond on Twitter @DChingarande1

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