Sikhala defence challenges court’s bid to revive ‘dead law’

By Tapiwa Svondo

Job Sikhala’s lawyers have vowed to challenge the trial court’s alleged bid to revive the crime of “communicating falsehoods” against their client whose legal woes have spilled into the third year with no signs of a quick end.

Sikhala faces offences stemming from his works as lawyer to slain CCC activist Moreblessing Ali in Nyatsime May 2022.

In his umpteenth court hearing last week, the former Zengeza lawmaker’s lawyers raised the flag on what they felt were attempts by the court to resuscitate section 31 of the Criminal Law Codification Reform Act, which criminalises the publication or communication of falsehoods prejudicial to the state.

Lawyer Harrison Nkomo disagreed with the court’s ruling that the law had transformed itself and thus revived.

They firmly believe that once a law has been struck off the country’s statute books and thus, should not resurface.

To address this matter, the team announced its intention to take the case to the High Court for a review.

“This matter has got history especially section 31,” Nkomo said.

“In 2018, journalists took the amendment of the Constitutional Court and the Constitutional Court then ruled that section 31 of the criminal law codification is inconsistent with the basic fundamental human rights regarding freedom of expression.

“To that end, it was struck out the statute books of this country. So, it was on the background of that matter in that case of Sikhala, we challenged the charge of communicating and publish falsehood because it is no longer part of our law.

“Sadly to Mr Sikhala, the court has ruled that the law transformed itself. How it revived, we don’t know because what we understand is once a law has been struck out from the statute books.

“It does not see light of day; there has to be way of it resurrecting, but they say that it was resurrected, which is a position that will respectfully disagree with.

“We shall therefore take that matter to the High Court for review…”

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