Sikhala requests criminal trial live streamed

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By Staff Reporter

JAILED Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Member of Parliament, Job Sikhala has requested to have his trial in the case he is accused of defeating the course of justice live streamed.

The lawmaker made the application when his much awaited trial took off before Harare magistrate, Marewanazvo Gofa on Tuesday.

His attorney, Jeremiah Bamu, said the bulk of people interested in hearing the matter cannot fit in the courtroom, let alone travel from all over the world for the trial.

He also said this would ensure balanced coverage by the media since some journalists in most cases are barred from accessing the courtroom as authorities limit the number of people in the gallery.

“This matter has drawn intense public interest. As a result, the facilitating of media reporting becomes important.

“The live stream will allow close family members to follow proceedings. The request comes from the accused’s daughter who is attending university in Poland, and his brother in the UK.

“There are also other members of the media, because of the limited space to seat, who cannot be physically present. On a number of occasions, the police also limit the number of journalists who can attend this particular court.

“It is also important for the court to note that the media has been covering the case through print, but in today’s digital world, there is no real reason or logic for the media to continue resorting to techniques of yesteryear. It enables more accurate reporting and little room for subjective commentary, ” he submitted.

Bamu said the fact that there is a heavy deployment of anti-riot police only when Sikhala is appearing in court confirms that his matter was of national interest.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) opposed the application.

George Manokore, representing the State, said he would need time to go through the application for him to properly respond.

Trial continues Wednesday.

Sikhala was representing Ali’s family after she was abducted from Nyatsime area by a Zanu PF activist.

Ali’s decomposing, decapitated body was found 21 days after she went missing at the suspect’s mother’s homestead in Beatrice.

A memorial service for Ali was held days later and was marred by violence, which left a trail of distraction in the area.

Sikhala was then held accountable, with prosecutors alleging that he was the one who allegedly incited mourners to avenge Ali’s death.

He was locked up in jail on June 14 to date.