Sikhala approaches High Court
MDC Alliance vice chairperson Job Sikhala has taken his freedom bid to the High Court for bail appeal after he was denied freedom by the lower court on Thursday.
Sikhala, who is accused of inciting public violence, was denied bail by Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube who ruled that he was a flight risk.
The magistrate said Sikhala had been playing hide and seek with the police as he knew he was wanted by the cops, but did not surrender himself, only to be arrested at a house in Tynwald where he was allegedly hiding in a ceiling and had not been found at his Chitungwiza residence.
In the bail appeal, Sikhala, through his lawyers, argued that the magistrate grossly erred and misdirected himself in denying him bail.
“The finding by the court a quo that appellant went into hiding for some time before he could be arrested is inconsistent with established evidence in that no evidence was adduced by the State of any effort to contact appellant for him to surrender himself to the police at any stage.
“No evidence was adduced by the State that they made it public that they wanted the appellant in connection with any offence,” the lawyers argued.
They further stated that the police press statement on July 27 does not state the offence which he was wanted for hence no basis to surrender himself to the police.
“Even then, there is nothing ex facie the press statement that appellant was sought in connection with the commission of any offence. Instead, he was being sought on account of being an activist which in itself is not an offence. No legal obligation arises for one to surrender self to the police merely on account of being labelled an activist by the police,” they argued.
Sikhala had disputed hiding in the ceiling because of his big frame, but the court said there was no reason to believe the arresting officer Collin Makore would lie against him as it has been shown that good relations existed between the two.
He also claimed to have gone to Tynwald to collect his wife, which the court said could not be accepted as he was found hiding.
In the bail appeal filed at the High Court, his lawyers argued that Sikhala was entitled to freedom of movement and it was, therefore, neither here nor there that he was arrested in Tynwald.
Sikhala said he is prepared to deposit $15 000 as bail and also to reside at his St Mary’s home until the matter is finalised.