Insult case: High Court throws out Biti’s application

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By Staff Reporter 

EFFORTS by Harare East lawmaker, Tendai Biti, to stop prosecution in a case where he is accused of insulting a Russian businesswoman Tatiana Aleshina have failed after the High Court dismissed his application.

The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislator had approached the High Court after magistrate Vongai Guuriro Muchuchuti dismissed his application for referral to the Constitutional Court.

Biti wanted the court to determine his main application for referral of the case to the Constitutional Court.

However, High Court judge Justice Rodgers Manyangadze dismissed the application, ruling Biti had failed to substantiate his request.

“Perusal of the applicant’s papers shows that the gravamen of the application is that proceedings in the lower court be stayed pending the hearing and determination of the review application,” said the judge.

“It has now been agreed that the review be disposed of on an urgent basis, with timelines that place it before the resumption of trial. Clearly, it is anticipated that the substantive matter will be resolved before trial continues.”

The judge said this development, in his view, renders the ancillary application superfluous and redundant.

“It defeats the argument, strenuously advanced on behalf of the applicant, that the review application will be rendered moot or academic.”

This, the judge said, means that a fundamental requirement for the grant of an urgent interdict has not been met.

He added that the requirement, as highlighted in the Biti’s papers, is that irreparable harm would occur if the interdict is not granted.

“The harm being that the relief may be granted after the trial, thus rendering it a brutum fulmen. For reasons already indicated, that contention cannot be upheld,” said the judge.

“Other considerations, such as the prospects of success, become unnecessary.

“If anything, they place the judge in a somewhat invidious position, it having been agreed that the same judge shall urgently hear and determine the review application.”

He further stated that it was in the interests of justice that the merits or otherwise of the review matter be determined after they are fully ventilated at the hearing.

Biti argues that allegations against him do not constitute a criminal offence.

Trial has already started with him denying the allegations.

Tataiana has testified telling the court that Biti ridiculed her and made her feel ashamed after he insulted her with unprintable words.

She also said she suffered stress related complications following the incident which took place at Harare magistrates court in 2020.