By Staff Reporter
JAILED Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) Member of Parliament (MP), Job Sikhala will know his fate Wednesday when Harare Magistrate, Tafadzwa Miti is expected to hand down ruling on the lawmaker’s latest bail application.
Sikhala stands accused of inciting public violence and defeating the course of justice following the death of slain CCC activist, Moreblessing Ali.
His lawyer denied the allegations arguing Sikhala never published a video on social media as alleged.
Mpofu said the alleged video was published by a local online tabloid, which is not a social media platform.
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Monday Sikhala applied for bail through his lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu telling court there have been changed circumstances warranting his release now.
“The co-accused of the accused was admitted to bail by this court, and secondly 14 accused persons who are said to be his co-perpetrators have been admitted to bail by the High Court,” said Mpofu.
He added, “There has been a considerable lapse of time since the accused was incarcerated.
“Investigations have, as a matter of fact, been completed. All considerations pertaining to any fears have been impeded.”
Sikhala’s co-accused Godfrey Sithole was granted ZW$50 000 a week ago by a local magistrate.
The MP has been trying to secure bail with no luck since his arrest in June this year.
Courts denied him bail on grounds that he was likely to reoffend.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) also said he breached a bail order when he committed the present offence.
But Mpofu argued his client did not violate the previous bail conditions, which prohibited him from addressing an online audience, or Whatsapp group.
Denying incitement allegations, Mpofu said Sikhala did not urge anyone to be violent.
“The circumstances relied upon by the State do not show incitement of the masses. In fact there is only one statement from the papers we have just received.
“Two police officers (witnesses) also do not contend that he said anything. There is nothing in the charge that relates to the accused.
“The order was not breached. Therefore the order is not superfluous and the correct position is that it has not been breached.”
Mpofu also said there is no way Sikhala would interfere with witnesses in his case because there are no chances of them interacting.
“Two are police officers and one is a civilian with no relationship with the accused.The dockets have been completed, the matter is ripe for trial and that is a factor that has not been in existence,” said the lawyer.
Mpofu also told court that the situation in the Nyatsime area has since calmed down so there is no need to keep Sikhala locked up.
In response, prosecutor George Manokore said it was not logical for the court to review its own ruling, and nothing had changed.
“I would like the court to appreciate that wrong or right there is a factual finding made by the magistrate. Legally, it’s you who said he (Sikhala) breached the condition and that’s it. They ought to appeal that ruling, that’s the only remedy.
“I would like to believe under such circumstances the accused should approach a superior court if they are not satisfied. You cannot review your own decision.
“Bail on changed circumstances should demonstrate the change which warrants review. The defence said there’s no allegation but the body of the charge speaks for itself. That submission will not hold water,” he argued.
The magistrate said her ruling will be ready Wednesday.