By Mary Taruvinga
MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti has been freed on $10 000 bail.
He is facing assault charges after he allegedly told a Russian woman Tatiana Aleshina that she is “an idiot”.
The state did not oppose bail and his trial is set to commence on January 18 next year.
Prosecutor Idah Maromo said Saturday the state was ready for trial right away.
Biti was ordered to continue residing at his given address and not to interfere with witnesses.
His lawyer Alec Muchadehama had told the court that the opposition lawmaker was prepared to pay $2 000 bail.
Muchadehama said he was not ready for trial because they were only served with state papers minutes before proceedings and needed time to read the state outline so as to prepare the defence.
“Unfortunately, we were only served with state papers just before this court sat. So we need time to prepare. I propose that the trial starts on January 18 next year,” said Muchadehama.
The human rights lawyer complained his client was subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment after his arrest on Friday.
“As I entered Harare Central police, there were no sanitizers, no social distancing is practised and they don’t offer anyone masks subjecting the accused to Covid -19.
“The accused person was denied food and water. He arrived around 11 am and was detained around 6 pm. No food and water was given to him.
“The accused is facing allegations of assault as defined in Section 81 of the Criminal Codification and Reform Act. The whole docket was complete by 2pm and the police said they were going to detain the accused in cells,” he said.
Muchadehama said police refused to bring Biti to court.
“The detention was unlawful in that the charge is common assault, circumstances would be criminal nuisance under the miscellaneous offences, no violence was used, no weapon was used. there was no intention to cause bodily harm.
“The accused went to the police himself. He has been charged with treason twice before, but he never absconded. In short, he is a well-known person,” Muchadehama said.
Muchadehama said Inspector Chibaya ordered Biti’s detention and refused to tell the firebrand politician why he was detaining him considering the circumstances.
“I submit that it unlawful for the police to detain a suspect in circumstances where they should not be detained. We want the intention of the police with regards to the detention of the accused person investigated,” said the lawyer.
Muchuchuti said the state should investigate and bring a report on the next hearing.