Sikhala seeks review

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Tarisai Machakaire

STAFF WRITER

machakairet@dailynews.co.zw

MDC Alliance deputy national chairperson Job Sikhala has approached the High Court contesting the dismissal of his application challenging his placement on remand on allegations of inciting public violence. 

Sikhala cited the State and Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube, who dismissed the application, as respondents.

He wants the High Court to nullify Ncube’s decision to place him on remand on August 26.

In the application, Sikhala argued that the State had concocted a statement from various sources and used it against him.

He said it was irregular for Ncube to place him on remand after concluding that by “war” he meant resorting to violence and argued that the word could be used metaphorically, adding that he was referring to a meal that he was eating in the video.

“I would say it is irregular to place a person on remand on the basis of facts which are admittedly woven to create embellished allegations. In my respectful view it is unreasonable and irrational for a judicial officer to find the existence of reasonable suspicion simply because his preferred interpretation is completely divorced from the actual context,” Sikhala said.

He argued that Ncube should not have placed him on remand because his arrest “was unlawful and without warrant”.

“My arrest was without warrant. This was despite the State claiming that the police were searching for me for close to a month to the day they arrested me.

“The State did not even produce a warrant of arrest, if any had been applied for and existed against me,” he added.

When Sikhala was granted bail, High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere noted that police had used a mere press statement to invite him and 14 other activists in connection with the July 31 demonstrations, but failed to specify if he had been on the wanted list.

She said investigating officer Collen Makore had also confirmed that he had not personally gone to search for Sikhala and failed to account for other mentioned police officers he claimed to have executed the task.

“The police used a vague press statement which had no force of law. There was never a wanted persons alert and the State was left with no evidence of the appellant’s intention to abscond or hide from arrest,” Ndewere said.

“The police confirmed that they did not personally look for him and referred to other officers that were never called to testify.

“The investigating officer was looking for him through other officers. The police diary log could not be produced to show the record of police officers having gone to Sikhala’s house.”

The High Court is yet to set the date for the hearing.

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