Sunday, 27 February 2022

JUDGE RAPS BITI

A High Court judge has criticised opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) senior official Tendai Biti for accusing a Harare magistrate and senior prosecutor of being biased against him.

In a ruling on Biti’s High Court application seeking the recusal of magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro and prosecutor Michael Reza in a matter he is on trial for allegedly assaulting a Russian businesswoman Tatiana Aleshina outside the Harare magistrates’ court, High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi dismissed the application, saying there was no evidence of bias as alleged.

The former Harare East Member of Parliament is also seeking that the October 13, 2021 order dismissing the application for a postponement and ordering the hearing to proceed in the absence of the applicant’s legal practitioners be set aside.

Biti was also seeking the setting aside of proceedings in the matter before Muchuchuti-Guwuriro and the stay of his criminal case.

But in his ruling, Tawanda Chitapi accused Biti of “regrettably” using extreme language in his application.

“I turn to consider the grounds of review.

“Before I do so however, I need to consider some depositions of the applicant in the founding affidavit, which regrettably shows use of intemperate language,”  Chitapi’s ruling read in part.

“The above pronouncement shows scant respect for the first respondent and amounted to a personal attack on the first respondent.”

“The rules of practice and procedure are very simple.

“When a litigant is not happy with a decision, the litigant does not attack or criticize the person of the judicial officer for the decision.

“The decision must be obeyed until set aside by a competent court with power to do so.”

Biti argued that he became the subject of media frenzy and demonisation by then Zanu PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa, who and the Information permanent secretary Ndabaningi Mangwana, denounced him for allegedly assaulting a woman during the week when the nation was observing a campaign against gender-based violence. Standard

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