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Sikhala appeals latest bail dismissal at High Court; argues magistrate was misdirected

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By Staff Reporter


Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) interim deputy chairperson, Job Sikhala has appealed against his latest bail dismissal at the High Court Wednesday citing misdirection on the part of the magistrate in denying him freedom.

Sikhala was represented by Jeremiah Bamu, who argued his case before High Court Judge, Justice Mandiyanike.

The case was postponed to November 4 for ruling.

Bamu argued his client’s freedom should be granted on the grounds the magistrate was misdirected in ruling out factors that were crucial in determining Sikhala’s bail.

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Of the factors, he argued the lower court agreed that although his client had been allocated a trial date this did not in any way deter him from getting freedom, but had not done anything to that effect.

“What is more important, is that the State made a concession that the mere furnishing of a trial date does not bar an accused from being granted bail.

“The e court aqua has not made a determination on the concession,” he said.

The attorney also stressed the State has an obligation to place specific facts to show that the case has strengthened over time, but failed to do so.

“The State has failed to place before the court facts showing the strengthening of their case”

He maintained the State case had weakened as the initial reason to deny bail was because there were eyewitnesses, but this was not true.

“Appellant placed before the court aqua the statement of the investigating officer, which makes it clear that all statements being relied on are police officers who watched the video contrary to what is being alleged in the Form 242, there are no eye witnesses, thereby weakening the state case” he said.

Bamu also argued the other thing that should be put into consideration was the element of public perception.

He also noted the petition as evidence of the public’s position as far as the continued detention of his client was concerned.

“Initial reasons for refusing bail were that there will be a pronounced risk that society will lose confidence in the system of justice.

“The petition, therefore, was to demonstrate that the finding was not sustained with what was happening in society,” he said.

The lawyer cited other reasons that were fundamental in proving the misdirection in denying his client bail.

He contended that there was enough evidence in the statement of the investigating officer showing that the said video, which is the basis of his client’s charge, was in fact not posted by him but by a third party.

He also anchored his argument on the investigating officer’s statement saying the allegations do not relate to inciting public violence, but a completely unrelated issue to mislead police investigation.

In response the State maintained its position of denying Sikhala bail saying it was well within the confines of the law.