High Court Hears Sikhala’s Challenge of Conviction for Obstruction of Justice Charges

High Court Hears Sikhala’s Challenge of Conviction for Obstruction of Justice Charges

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TWO High Court Judges will next week hand down their verdict on an appeal filed by former Zengeza West constituency legislator and lawyer Hon. Job Sikhala, who is challenging his conviction and sentence for allegedly obstructing or defeating the course of justice.

Hon. Sikhala was convicted on 3 May 2023 by Harare Magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa, who presided over his trial on charges of obstructing or defeating the course of justice as defined in section 184(1)(e) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The former legislator for the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) political party, was hauled out of Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison on Tuesday 12 July 2022 and taken to Harare Central Police Station, where he was charged him with obstructing or defeating the course of justice as defined in section 184(1)(e) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

During trial at Harare Magistrates Court, prosecutors alleged that at an unknown date but during the period extending from 25 May 2022 and 16 June 2022 in Chitungwiza and Nyatsime, the former Zengeza West legislator recorded and circulated a video clip wherein he intended to mislead police officers probing the murder of Moreblessing Ali, an opposition CCC political party supporter, who was murdered in Nyatsime area in Beatrice in May 2022.

Prosecutors claimed that Hon. Sikhala blamed some ruling ZANU PF political party supporters for kidnapping and murdering Ali.

On 3 May 2023, Magistrate Gofa convicted and sentenced Hon. Sikhala to pay a fine of US$600, failure of which, he would serve six months in prison.

Through his lawyers Jeremiah Bamu and Harrison Nkomo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Hon. Sikhala then filed an appeal at the High Court seeking to set aside both his conviction and sentence and argued that Magistrate Gofa erred and misdirected herself when she handed down the verdict on the former opposition political party legislator, who has spent more than one year detained at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

On Wednesday 22 November 2023, Justice Benjamin Chikowero and Justice Pisirayi Kwenda presided over the hearing and determination of Hon. Sikhala’s appeal and indicated that they would hand down their judgment on Tuesday 28 November 2023.

ENDS

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