Sikhala trail: Witness grilled over 2 videos

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A POLICE officer, Kudakwashe Mandiranga, who was tasked to download two videos from YouTube and Twitter that will be used as evidence in the trial of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislator Job Sikhala, who is accused of inciting public violence, was grilled in court yesterday by the Mp’s lawyers.

Mandiranga was cross-examined by Sikhala’s lawyer Harrison Nkomo, who questioned him over whether he possessed qualifications for telecommunications.

He said he had a certificate in information communication technology obtained through the Zimbabwe Republic Police training courses.

Mandiranga told the court that he had no evidence that Sikhala shot the video inciting violence, prompting Nkomo to aver that Mandiranga had misled the court and asked him to read three separate statements he had signed pertaining to the case.

“I did not mislead the court because an explanation can be offered for all of this. When I recorded the first statement, I wasn’t in the office, I didn’t check the dates that were on the statement. I just wrote without knowledge of the dates as I was just tasked with the case, but I later corrected it,” Mandiranga argued.

It emerged that the investigating officer in the case had signed the statement on July 13, exactly 12 days after it was written.

“You are aware that a video can be tampered with from YouTube to a disk or to flash drives. You agree with me that you don’t know who recorded that video or the capacity of the gadget used to record that video, and of the person who recorded it?” Nkomo asked.

After Mandiranga concurred, Nkomo then grilled him over why he did not approach YouTube or Twitter to test the authenticity of the video evidence.

“All I did was download the video. I didn’t check for its authenticity, there is special expertise required to download a video on YouTube. An ordinary person cannot do that, but I am qualified to do that as I am a system administrator,” he said.

The police officer was also cross-examined by lawyer, Jeremiah Bhamu, who asked him if he was in contact with the person who shot the video in order to compare the original video and the one that was posted online.

He was also asked if he is an expert in film production, of which he said he was not.

The State submitted that the transcript was generated from software relatable to the video, which is allowed in common law.

The matter was deferred to tomorrow to allow the defence to go through the State submissions.

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