Harare — Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislator Job Sikhala has been remanded further in custody after his bail hearing failed to start due to power outages that affected court processes.
Sikhala, who will have spent 160 days behind bars come Monday, was represented by Thabani Mpofu and is facing charges of inciting public violence and obstructing course of justice.
Due to most court cases now being recorded electronically and owing to power cuts, the State, through prosecutor George Manokore, argued that the case resumes on Monday hoping electricity would have been restored.
Mpofu however, dismissed claims that cases needed electricity to be tried since the courts used to record arguments manually.
“Our position is that we respectfully insist on the application being argued,” said Sikhala’s lawyer.
“By constitutional command, matters that relate to liberty cannot be delayed because they are by their very nature more important. The reasons given by the State are not sufficient, what if we come on Monday and there is still no electricity.”
He added; “What the State is saying is to say it prefers to be proceed with this matter where proceeding are mechanically recorded. This is prejudicial to the accused.
“Provisions of Section 5 of the Magistrates Act establishes this court as a court of record.
“There must be a court record, an electronic one is not of legal credence. Right now we are on record so we can proceed this way.”
Mpofu also argued that reasons submitted by the State for postponement lacked merit.
Magistrate Tafadzwa Miti said since the matter had previously been recorded, it would be easy and efficient if the case proceed in the existing format.
“This matter has previously been machine recorded, this way it is efficient and easy to access the record whenever it is needed.
“Therefore this case should be machine recorded,” the magistrate said, deferring the hearing to Monday next week.