CCC legislator Job Sikhala yesterday indicated that he wants to approach the High Court seeking stay of court proceedings in the matter he is accused of inciting public violence in Nyatsime last year.
Sikhala is jointly charged with fellow CCC legislator Godfrey Karakadzai Sithole on incitement to commit public violence. Through lawyer Mr Jeremiah Bamu, Sikhala indicated that he wanted the court proceedings to be stayed pending his application for review of Harare magistrates Mrs Tafadzwa Miti’s decision to dismiss his application for her recusal.
Yesterday, Sikhala told the court that he had since filed the application for review at the High Court and wanted to make a request for temporary stay of proceedings pending the upper court’s determination.
He said he intended to file the request on February 8.
The State led by Mr George Manokore indicated that he will respond to the application on February 13, with the court expected to make a ruling on February 20.
Mrs Miti, in dismissing Sikhala’s application for recusal, noted that he had failed to place reasonable grounds showing apprehension of bias on her part. The court ruled that Sikhala’s fears emanated from grounds surrounding the dismissal of his bail application on changed circumstances and vowed to impartially preside over the matter.
Mrs Miti ruled that the outcome of the trial will be based on evidence adduced during the trial.
Mr Bamu had argued that Mrs Miti had formulated a position towards Sikhala in a ruling dismissing his bail application in changed circumstances.
In his application seeking recusal of Mrs Miti from presiding over the matter, Sikhala claimed the magistrate had already pronounced herself on the merits of the trial before his hearing.
Sikhala claimed that Mrs Miti had already taken a position on his conduct and concluded that he had incited violence in Nyatsime.
He argued that he would not receive a fair trial before Mrs Miti.
The State led by Mr George Manokore had also argued that Mrs Miti’s ruling in dismissing Sikhala’s bail application on changed circumstances had no bearing on the outcome of the trial.
“In casu, the applicant feels that the court has shown through its bail ruling that it has already convicted the applicant,” said Mr Manokore. “However, that was a bail process which has no bearing on the outcome of the trial.
“The applicant is worried that the court held that the accused confirmed that there is now calmness in Nyatsime because the accused is in custody. The accused actually confirmed that and cited that as a change in circumstances.
“Such confirmations are allowed in the bail process under $117A (6) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (Chapter 9:07).
“So, if the accused made such confirmations then the court could not ignore such averments or assertions. The court’s ruling as alluded to above is concerned with facts raised during bail application. The court should not ignore such facts since they were raised by the accused himself. That in our view does not show any bias on the person of the court.”
Mr Manokore said there was no reasonable apprehension of bias that could be deduced from the court’s bail ruling.
He said Sikhala wanted to abuse the court processes by applying for the recusal of the magistrate.
Sithole, through his lawyer Mr Oliver Marwa, notified the State that they will apply for separation of trials after the court ruling on Sikhala’s application for temporary stay of proceedings pending High Court determination. -state media