Sikhala files application to stop trial

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Job Sikhala

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) interim deputy chairperson Job Sikhala has filed an application to stop court proceedings until the High Court reviews a video tendered as evidence in a case he is being accused of publishing falsehoods.

Sikhala, who is being represented by Jeremiah Bhamu has challenged the video presented by the State saying it must be authenticated before it can be accepted as evidence by the courts.

Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro had accepted the video as evidence, but Sikhala approached the High Court demanding review of the decision.

While submitting facts for postponement of the case, Bhamu said the evidence should be authenticated by YouTube where it was downloaded by the information technology expert.

“The court needs to make a determination on the validity of the said exhibit. I pray that it is prudent to stay the proceedings until the determination of the application for review at the High Court,” Bhamu submitted.

“It is a challenge on the admissibility of the document. We need a witness who will give us the authenticity of the video. The current witnesses cannot speak of the authenticity of the video and cannot say if the video is original. The other witnesses (that) we have are investigating officers and cannot speak of the authenticity required.”

Bhamu demanded that the matter be postponed until the High Court sets a date for hearing the review application.

But the State represented by Garudzo Ziyadhuma and Tendai Shonhai opposed the application saying it can only stop the trial if the defence produced an order of the High Court stopping the proceedings.

The matter has not been moving since 2020, with several applications made by Sikhala having been dismissed by the court.

The State has continued to pursue the matter despite that the charge was said to be non-existent in the country’s statutes in a case where journalist Hopewell Chin’ono was being accused of a similar offence.

The State filed an appeal against Chin’ono, and it used the basis of appeal to continue with Sikhala’s case.

Muchuchuti-Guwuriro postponed the matter to Thursday for ruling.

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