THE trial of CCC deputy chairman Job Sikhala on charges of obstructing police investigations into the murder of Moreblessing Ali, and the violence that ensued in the Nyatsime area in June was yesterday deferred to January 3.
Sikhala had appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court.
He is charged with defeating or obstruction of justice after he allegedly recorded and posted a video on social media which, according to the State, was aimed at hindering police investigations.
This trial is separate from the one where he is accused of inciting public violence in Nyatsime after Ali’s kidnapping and murder.
Sikhala, through his lawyers Mr Harrison Nkomo and Mr Jeremiah Bamu, denied the charges and applied to be excepted to the charges when the trial opened early this month.
In denying the charges, he told the court that he did not post or cause anyone to record and post on social media the video that the State alleged had hindered police investigations.
Sikhala said he had no knowledge that police had launched investigations into the matter, adding that he was only providing legal services to Ali’s family.
He also argued that 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.
Sikhala argued 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.
Mr Oscar Madhume, prosecuting, 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.
Mr Madhume told the court that the documents were part of other papers that were served to Sikhala by his co-State counsel, Mr Zebadiah Bofu
“There are some documents that the State feels are useful for trial. The State feels that they will provide fairness for the trial since no evidence has been adduced as yet.
“Mr Bofu, who had custody of the docket, was involved in an accident last Tuesday and that is why he could not attend court today,” he said.
Mr Madhume said all State witnesses were available and they were all ready to testify.
He said Sikhala would suffer no prejudice because of the postponement.
Mr Nkomo 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.
Mr Nkomo said the documents were not admissible at law.
However, the court upheld the State’s application and allowed the postponement to January 3.
Sikhala was then quick to apply 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.