Saturday 20 January 2024


OPPOSITION politician Tendai Biti's trial on a charge of verbally assaulting local businesswoman Tatiana Aleshina ended yesterday with the presiding magistrate Vongai Guwuriro  set to announce her verdict on February 15.

The State led by Deputy Prosecutor-General Michael Reza and Tafara Chirambira is expected to submit closing submissions on January 25, while Biti's lawyer Alec Muchadehama will submit his on February 2.

The matter has been before the court for almost three years as Biti filed several applications to the Constitutional Court citing infringement of his right to a fair trial.On two occasions, Biti also unsuccessfully sought the recusal of the trial magistrate Guwuriro and prosecutor Michael Reza,over alleged bias.The State alleges that Biti assaulted Aleshina at the Harare Magistrates Court on November 30,  2020.

He has, however, denied the charge, claiming that on the day in question, he was carrying a briefcase in one hand and some books in the other, and could not have made the intimidating gestures as alleged.

However, the prosecution argued that Biti committed the offence in anger after losing several court cases to the complainant's company.

In his testimony, Biti claimed that  the Criminal (Codification and Reform) Act had done away with the charge of assault by gesture, but could not explain how he wanted the court to arrive at such a decision when Chirambira highlighted to him that section 89(1)(b) of the same Act criminalize threatening gestures. Newsday


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