CCC members Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole, charged with obstructing the course of justice, yesterday lost their latest bail bid, based on what they argued were changed circumstances, after a Harare magistrate dismissed their application saying nothing essential had changed since their initial court appearance.
Harare regional magistrate Mrs Feresi Chakanyuka dismissed the application after noting that there were no changed circumstances from June 17 when they first made a bail application which was turned down.
Sikhala and Sithole, through their lawyers Mr Jeremiah Bamu and Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, had mounted a fresh bail bid based on the passage of time and the fact that Sikhala had not been posting videos. ZimLive, an online news portal, had written a letter confirming that Sikhala had not posted a video on the online platform.
The two had also told the court that there were other people who were arrested for causing the violence that occurred in Nyatsime following the killing of Moreblessing Ali, whom they said supported their party.
The area was flooded with rumours that she went missing in a political attack, but it was found later that she had been grabbed and killed by a former boyfriend.
In their application, they had argued that some owners of the trucks that the State alleges were hired by Sithole were also arrested in connection with the violence.
The State led by Mr Lancelot Mutsokoti had opposed the application saying there was nothing that was placed before the court that warrants them to be released on bail.
In her ruling, Mrs Chakanyuka dismissed the application and the letter which Sikhala and Sithole said was written by ZimLive.
Mrs Chakanyuka said it was impossible for the court to make a finding on a document that was not placed before it.
“The court cannot make a finding on a document that is in the air,” she said.
Mrs Chakanyuka said the fact that there are other suspects arrested in connection with the same incident was not ample ground that warrants Sikhala and Sithole to be granted bail.
“It is the court’s view that those arguments do not amount to an exceptional circumstance because it does not work in favour of the applicants,” she said.
Mr Mutsokoti then applied that the two return to court on August 29 while waiting for their trial scheduled for November 15.
Mr Bamu opposed the application demanding that they be remanded straight to the trial date, which should be within 14 days.
He argued that the November 15 date was too far, claiming that it was in violation of their constitutional right to be tried within the shortest possible time.
In reply, Mr Mutsokoti said the trial date does not violate the two’s constitutional rights.
The court ordered Sikhala and Sithole to return to court today for ruling on Mr Bamu’s opposing submissions. Herald