Sikhala freedom bid now lost cause

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DETAINED Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) lawmaker Job Sikhala’s freedom bid is turning out to be a lost cause after Harare magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka yesterday denied him bail for the umpteenth time.

Chakanyuka, instead ruled that his trial will proceed next week on Monday.

Sikhala was denied bail in absentia on the matter where he is facing a charge of inciting violence after the murder of opposition activist Moreblessing Ali.

Despite his absence, there was heavy anti-riot police outside the courtroom in anticipation of protests from opposition supporters.

The courtroom was, however, not packed.

His lawyer Paul Mutsatsa, who was standing in for Jeremiah Bamu, told NewsDay that his client felt very disturbed by attending court proceedings and be denied bail over and over again.

In her ruling, Chakanetsa said the new facts in the defence’s application could not change the circumstances upon which Sikhala was initially denied bail.

“The court’s refusal to grant the accused bail has not changed. Same conditions still stand.

“The applicant showed that he has an attitude of violating bail conditions,” Chakanetsa said.

“Having due consideration, these new facts have not changed the facts why the accused was initially denied bail.”

She also stressed that there was no point of granting him bail since investigations by the State were already complete.

The State also argued that some points submitted by the defence could be ventilated during trial.

Defence also argued that Sikhala had to be granted bail as his co-accused fellow CCC lawmaker Godfrey Sithole and the 14 Nyatsime residents had been freed.

Meanwhile, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s estranged wife Marry Mubaiwa has challenged the Harare Magistrates Court’s jurisdiction to handle her alleged attempted murder case saying the alleged incident occurred in South Africa, hence local courts had no locus standi to preside over the matter.

Mubaiwa’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa yesterday told the court that she filed an application with the High Court to determine whether Harare Magistrates Court can deal with the case.

Chakanyuka deferred the matter to tomorrow for ruling on the defence’s application. _*NewsDay*_

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