Zimbabwe: Go Back to the Roots of Refusal, Prosecutor Tells Sikhala

Opposing a fresh bail application by CCC legislator Job Sikhala, the State has argued that he has failed to explain what has changed from the reasons given by the courts denying him bail since June when he first appeared in court on charges of inciting public violence in Nyatsime area.

The State argued that Sikhala was denied bail for breaching the bail conditions of a previous similar charge, and could not ride on the bail granted his co-accused and fellow CCC legislator Godfrey Sithole because Sithole had never breached a bail condition and so the circumstances were different.

So Sikhala was supposed to go back to the “roots” of the grounds on which he was denied bail before he approached the court applying for bail on changed circumstances. Mr George Manokore, appearing for the State, was responding to Sikhala’s written submissions for his fresh bail bid on the grounds of changed circumstances.

Sikhala, through his lawyers led by Advocate Thabani Mpofu, mounted a fresh bail application on changed circumstances arguing that since his co-accused and fellow CCC legislator Godfrey Karakadzai Sithole had been granted bail on changed circumstances, he should be treated equally.

Sithole was granted $300 000 bail.

In its response, the State said Sithole’s conduct was different from Sikhala’s.

“At hand we have (Godfery Karakadzayi Sithole) the second accused person who was granted bail by this court and thus the accused person number 1 now wants to ride on that saying he should be granted bail as well. The State will submit that their circumstances are different.

“It is the State’s submission that the court should look at the reasons that were previously presented or given by the court in denying the accused bail. The change of circumstances should go to the roots of such reasons by the court. The applicant deliberately left that aspect of the previous court’s ruling,” said Mr Manokore.

Sikhala was initially denied bail on grounds that he had previously breached a bail condition set by the High Court on a previous charge that compelled him not to address the public until that matter was finalised.

The State says Sikhala breached that set condition by addressing the public, and in the process allegedly incited them to commit public violence.

“The question that then arises is whether there is anything that had changed thus disturbing the basis of denial of bail by the court earlier,” said Mr Manokore. Sithole had not breached any previous bail conditions as Sikhala had allegedly done.

“What basically the State is saying is that the applicant cannot then claim that he must be treated alike with accused 2 Godfrey Karakadzai Sithole,” Mr Manokore said.

Since the trial was now set to open on Thursday next week, said Mr Manokore, Sikhala was now aware of the evidence weighing against him and armed with such knowledge was likely to flee.

“With the pressure and eagerness by the accused to get out of custody, it would mean that if given an opportunity he would flee, and not just fleeing but to skip the borders of the Republic of Zimbabwe right away,” he said.

The State also said that Sikhala is a legal practitioner who knew the effects of defying court orders and his trust when faced with further conditions had been eroded.

Sikhala is expected back in court before magistrate Mrs Tafadzwa Miti on Monday for continuation of the bail application.

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