Sikhala spends 43rd night in jail as new bail bid fails; lawyer says approaching magistrate mere formality

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By Staff Reporter

OPPOSITION lawmaker Job Sikhala has been denied bail on his latest charge of defeating the course of justice.

The latest bail ruling comes as it was confirmed that an international law firm based in the United States and the United Kingdom which specialises in high profile international human rights cases would join his legal team.

Sikhala is accused of posting a video aimed at disturbing investigations into the murder of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) slain activist, Moreblessing Ali.

He was denied bail on another charge of inciting public violence, a charge which is based on the same video.

His lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said they expected the outcome and only approached the magistrates court as a formality.

“As you probably heard the magistrate, as was expected, refused to give him bail and naturally we will be going to the High Court.

“We knew he was not going to get bail because in these cases we now know for a fact that nobody gets bail in the magistrates court. We come for the purpose of creating the record then we appeal at the high court and that is what we will be doing,” said Mtetwa.

Defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa

Sikhala denies the allegations, arguing that he never posted the alleged video on the internet.

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Harare magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka handed down the ruling on behalf of magistrate Stanford Mambanje.

The court agreed that the investigating officer in the case did not investigate who posted the video but ruled that this does not mean that there was no evidence against Sikhala.

“The IO (investigating officer) said they are yet to find who posted the video and they also said there are eye witnesses to testify that indeed the accused uttered the alleged words,” said the magistrate.

He added, “The fact that the IO said that they are still investigating does not mean that the State failed to demonstrate their case beyond reasonable doubt.”

The magistrate also said Sikhala has already violated a High Court bail order which weighs against him.

Sikhala will be back in court on August 8.