Ex CCC vice chairperson Job Sikhala ACQUITTED!

Job Sikhala

FORMER CCC activist Job Sikhala was yesterday acquitted on charges of inciting people to engage in violence during demonstrations in July 2020.

Sikhala had been charged with incitement to commit public violence as defined in section 187(1)(a) as read with section 36(1) (a) of the Criminal Code.

During trial, prosecutors alleged that Sikhala incited people to participate in public demonstrations that would cause public violence and breach of peace on 31 July 2020 by posting video clips with inflammatory messages.

Harare magistrate Mrs Vongai Guwuriro found that the prosecution had not been able to prove Sikhala posted a video on social media inciting CCC supporters to engage in violence and so it was not admissible as evidence in court.

Police officers testified in the trial that Sikhala uploaded a video on ZimLive and YouTube urging people to protest.

In his defence, Sikhala said there was no record of this video and it only surfaced during his trial. He submitted that the State failed to prove the authenticity of the video. In her ruling, Mrs Guwuriro said from the evidence, it was clear that none of the witnesses had any evidence to show that Sikhala posted the video, or could confirm if the videos were in their original form although she did not doubt that the two witnesses safeguarded the video after the download.

“The suggestion that the accused is one of the authors is merely speculative. The onus is on the State to prove that the requirements of admissibility have been met without reasonable doubt. No onus lies on the accused,” she said.

The magistrate then ruled that the State had failed to discharge that onus.

Mrs Guwuriro noted that the State could have called voice experts to authenticate Sikhala’s voice and call the person who uploaded the video clips.

“The State is wrongly casting the onus on the accused. The story required a voice expert to link the accused to the recordings,” ruled the magistrate. Herald.

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