The trial of Zengeza West Member of Parliament, Job Sikhala, on charges of obstructing police investigations into the murder of Moreblessing Ali was yesterday deferred to January 3, 2023.
Sikhala had appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court.
The State claims that Sikhala defeated or obstructed the course of justice after he allegedly recorded and posted a video on social media which was aimed at hindering police investigations.
This trial is separate from the one where he is accused of inciting public violence that erupted in the Nyatsime area in June Nyatsime after Ali’s kidnapping and murder.
When the trial opened early this month, Sikhala, through his lawyers Mr Harrison Nkomo and Mr Jeremiah Bamu, denied the charges arguing that:
i). he did not post or cause anyone to record and post on social media the video that the State alleged had hindered police investigations.
ii). he had no knowledge that police had launched investigations into the matter, adding that he was only providing legal services to Ali’s family.
iii). there was an unnecessary split of charges from the one he was charged with incitement to commit public violence, which arose from the same incident.
iv). there was nowhere in the video that showed him addressing or giving information to the police and there was no utterance where the police were asked to act on what he said.
Harare regional magistrate Mrs Marehwanazvo Gofa dismissed the two applications and set yesterday for trial.
Oscar Madhume, who was representing the State, applied for a postponement of the matter, saying there were critical documents that he intended to serve Sikhala before the State opened its case against him.
He said the documents would afford Sikhala a fair hearing adding that the opposition leader would suffer no prejudice because of the postponement.
Sikhala’s lawyer opposed the application, saying it was prejudicial to his client as he was still in custody since his arrest.
He told the court that they had already pleaded and crafted their defence without the said documents which he said were not admissible at law.
However, the court upheld the State’s application and allowed the postponement to January 3.
Sikhala then applied for bail consideration on the basis that the State was not ready to prosecute him.
The State opposed the application saying nothing had changed and that his application could not be divorced from the previous ones.
Mrs Gofa is today expected to make a ruling on bail consideration.