Nyore Madzianike Senior Court Reporter
MDC-Alliance Zengeza West legislator Job Sikhala yesterday applied for refusal of further remand in a matter he is charged with publishing falsehoods, arguing that the State had failed to prosecute him.
Sikhala, through his lawyer Mr Harrison Nkomo, made the application while opposing the State’s request to have the matter remanded to next year.
Mr Lancelot Mutsokoti, appearing for the State, had requested the court to defer the matter to February 24, 2022 pending the National Prosecution Authority’s appeal against a High Court judgment that pronounced that there was no offence called publishing falsehoods in the country’s statues.
Said Mr Mutsokoti: “The matter was coming for provision of a trial date. We, however, seek for postponement of the matter because there is a High Court judgment that is saying publishing falsehoods is not a crime.
“The NPA is appealing against that judgment in the High Court and whilst we wait for that High Court ruling we apply that the matter be postponed to February 24, 2022.”
Mr Nkomo opposed the postponement saying the court had given the State a last chance to provide Sikhala with a trial date or it would refuse a further remand.
He implored the court to give effect to its order and remove Sikhala from remand.
“Due regard must be taken of the peremptory provisions of your announcement during the last hearing. The court gave the State last chance to say it was not going to hear any excuses.
“We implore you (court) to give effect to your ruling. The State’s house is not in order and the consequent result is to remove the accused from remand,” he said.
Mr Nkomo said the NPA was aware of the High Court judgment, which was handed down in April this year in a matter where Hopewell Chin’ono was facing the same allegations.
He told the court that the State was battling to attain leave to appeal against the judgment at the Supreme Court.
“The judgment that he is alluding to is the matter heard before Justice Charehwa in the case of Hopewell Chin’ono.
“In the last hearing, NPA was aware of that judgment which was handed down on April 28, 2021 which is five months ago. He said NPA is appealing, in fact, NPA is battling to have leave to appeal and no appeal has been noted.
“Chances of the State to have the matter on the desk of the Supreme Court does not exist,” he said.
Harare regional magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje is expected to make a ruling on the application on September 28.