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Court doctors its order to prejudice Sikhala: Lawyer

Local News
SIKHALA

OPPOSITION MP Job Sikhala’s lawyer Jeremiah Bhamu has accused the court of doctoring its order to prejudice his clients.

Bhamu made the claim after magistrate Taurai Manuwere dismissed an application to have deputy prosecutor-general Michael Reza and prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti charged for contempt of court.

The application was made by Beatrice Mtetwa on behalf of Sikhala and his co-accused Godfrey Sithole.

Mtetwa and Bhamu, who are taking instructions from the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, wanted Reza and Mutsokoti charged for defying an order to furnish the defence with State papers on the case.

The order was made by magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka on August 18.

Sikhala and Sithole want the State papers to allow them to prepare for trial that has been set for November 21. Bhamu said the court could have doctored its papers to prejudice his clients.

“The written order with no timelines was erroneously written as it is different from what the court said that day,” Bhamu said.

“An examination of the electronic record which captures what happened, if properly examined, states that the State was supposed to provide the papers at the end of day on August 18.

“... Mutsokoti (...) admitted that he was aware of the directive directing the furnishing of State papers by close of business on August 18. He confirmed that that was actually what the court ordered.”

Yesterday, Bhamu said he did not want the court to revise the August 18 ruling, but its timelines for submission of the State papers.

He said the court should order Mutsokoti to furnish him with the papers on September 12.

Mutsokoti, however, sought to shift the goal posts saying he should not be bound to any date, claiming he still had more time to furnish the papers in accordance with section 382(1) of the Constitution which gives two court days before trial.

Manuwere said he will rule on Bhamu’s application for the court to set new timelines. The magistrate said he wanted to find out if the court had the powers to do so.

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