Biti’s bid to stop assault case thrown out

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By Staff Reporter

A HARARE magistrate Vongai Guuriro- Muchuchuti on Friday dismissed a request by lawmaker Tendai Biti, to have his assault trial stopped as he pursues its referral to the Constitutional Court.

Biti, also Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) vice president, is accused of verbally assaulting a Russian businesswoman Tatiana Aleshina at Harare magistrates court in 2020.

Biti wants a referral of his case to the Constitutional Court arguing that the allegations against him were not criminal.

This was despite the fact that the trial has already started, with the victim having already testified against him.

Biti once had a similar application dismissed by Muchuchuti.

On Friday the State said allowing Biti’s application would mean the magistrate was reviewing her own ruling as such Biti should approach a different court with his request.

Prosecuting, Michael Reza described the move as a classic gimmick to delay trial.

Biti allegedly insulted Aleshina resulting in her being hospitalised due to trauma and shock.

Giving her testimony Aleshina told the court that she felt so embarrassed and almost fainted after she was confronted by Biti and never felt secure since then.

She said she thought the lawmaker, whom she didn’t know by then wanted to physically attack her.

Aleshina also said she was never intimidated by anyone like that before.

Opposing Biti’s request, Reza said his intended application was strange.

“The accused wishes to file (a) constitutional court application. Your worship, my brother wishes to file a strange application. This is unheard of,” Reza said.

“This court is functus officio and my brother knows what he has to do if an application is dismissed by the court.

“You do not go back to the same court for a similar application, you go to a superior court,” Reza said.

Biti’s lawyer Alec Muchadehama however said he had already given the notice to file the application, adding that the State never indicated it would oppose.

Reza insisted the trial should go on.

“This court is being asked to listen to a nullity.

“We risk being a laughingstock to listen to this application. He needs to go to a superior court,” Reza said.

The magistrate then ordered the parties to file a written application in respect of the ConCourt application and ordered the trial to continue.

The trial then continued with  Aleshina being cross-examined by Muchadehama who asked about Aleshina’s employer.

Aleshina said she would stick to the assault case adding she was not allowed to speak on behalf of her employer.

The trial continues on March 21.

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