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LATEST: Sikhala bid to avoid prosecution fails

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By Staff Reporter


CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Zengeza West application challenging his placement on remand has been dismissed by Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje.

Sikhala is being charged with defeating the course of justice after he allegedly published a video commenting on the murder of CCC activist Moreblesing Ali.

Prosecutors allege the video was aimed at disturbing investigations into Ali’s murder.

The MP had challenged the remand on grounds that the “charges were trumped up” and the State never produced the video for which he is being charged.

His lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, argued that there is nothing before the court that links Sikhala to the creation and uploading of the video on a local online publication.

But the magistrate ruled that these were triable issues.

“Initial remand is only concerned about reasonable suspicion and the argument that the accused was acting as a legal practitioner for the family will only rise at the defence stage not now … it is about the potential effects of the utterances being offensive,” said the magistrate.

Mtetwa had argued that nothing before the court currently links her client to the recording and posting of that video.

“Therefore we are able to categorically say that there is no such video uploaded on the website and the one on YouTube was uploaded while he was in police custody,” argued Mtetwa.

The State represented by Tafara Chirambira however, argued that reasonable suspicion is enough to place an accused on remand and other factors will follow at the later stages, an argument upheld by the court.

Sikhala will now start his bail application.