THE mother of the child who was reported by MDC-Alliance activists as having been struck to death by a police officer using a baton in Harare, denied that her baby was beaten to death during the incident, a court heard.
In her statement to police, the mother said the baby was alive and that statement will be used against Job Sikhala during trial, as his Facebook post was false and calculated to cause the public to lose confidence in law enforcement agents.
Sikhala is facing charges of publishing falsehoods through his Facebook post following an incident where a police officer was falsely accused of striking to death a young baby who was in a kombi at the illegal pick-up point for Mashonaland Central province bound transport.
In opposing granting Sikhala bail, prosecutor Mr Lancelot Mutsokoti said the woman’s recorded statement makes their case stronger, which might induce him to flee fearing custodial sentence upon conviction.
Mr Mutsokoti also said Sikhala was a man of means who could easily take his family beyond the court’s jurisdiction.
“We know the mother of the child whose child is said to have been struck by a baton stick. She denies that the child was struck and let alone killed. That alone means what was published by the accused was false and meant to cause the public to lose confidence against the law enforcement (agents),” he said.
Mr Mutsokoti told court that the State had since established the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the Facebook account used to publish the alleged falsehoods.
“We had determined the IP address that was used to post and we are confident about the identity of the person whose IP address was used,” he said.
The investigating officer in the matter Detective Sergeant Davison Ngesi echoed the same sentiments when he was called to testify against Sikhala in his bail application.
He said information technology experts from his office were working on the matter and will provide evidence during trial.
Sikhala, through his legal team of Messrs Harrison Nkomo, Jeremiah Bamu and Paidamoyo Saurombe told the court that he was a suitable candidate for bail.
The lawyers said Sikhala was a man of means since he owns two houses in Chitungwiza.
Sikhala claimed he had been arrested 65 times since the year 2000 and has never been convicted on all the matters. He claimed that he religiously attended court and never violated his bail conditions.
Harare regional magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna remanded Sikhala in custody to today for bail ruling.
Meanwhile, political activist Hopewell Chin’ono was yesterday denied bail by magistrate Mr Lazini Ncube.
Chin’ono is facing the same charges as Sikhala.
In denying him bail, Mr Ncube said Chin’ono committed the offence while on bail on two similar charges.
Mr Ncube ruled that Chin’ono was likely to commit similar offences while on bail.
MDC-Alliance spokesperson Fadzai Mahere is expected to back in court today for a ruling after she challenged her placement on remand.
Mahere is facing charges of communicating falsehoods emanating from the same baby that Sikhala and Chin’ono also claimed was beaten to death by police.