Zimbabwe: Biti Cornered Over Bringing Unnecessary Evidence in Assault Case

Harare magistrate Vongai Guwuriro Muchuchuti Monday said Tendai Biti, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) vice president should stop submitting irrelevant evidence in a case he is accused of assaulting a local businesswoman, Tatiana Aleshina.

Biti is accused of verbally assaulting Aleshina with unprintable words following court proceedings in 2020.

He denies the allegations.

The case has been hanging since then, with the top lawyer having made several applications challenging his trial.

On Monday, the State requested that the lawmaker be given a time limit in filing his application for referral of his case to the Constitutional Court.

This was against the background that he took two days to do so in his previous application.

Prosecutor Michael Reza also said Biti was bringing unnecessary evidence in this case.

The magistrate however said it was his constitutional right to submit oral evidence on the constitutional rights which he claimed were infringed.

"The lower courts do not have the power to set time frames within which an accused must make his submissions," she said.

She however concurred with the State that Biti was bringing up unnecessary evidence.

"However, the court agrees with the State that the accused must not submit evidence that is irrelevant. The court will therefore be guiding the accused whenever he submits evidence that is irrelevant."

The magistrate said going forward, Biti will be guided.

Prosecuting, Reza stated that the reasons for applications made by Biti had nothing to do with his assault case.

Through his lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, Biti submitted that his rights were infringed from the day he was arrested.

In his application Biti mentioned an agreement signed between Augur Investment during the Airport road construction, and certain Zanu PF members.

The court said this was irrelevant.

Reza accused Biti of bringing politics into a criminal matter.

Reza urged the court to dismiss Biti's application stating that if his requests are always entertained the trial will never come to an end.

"This is the time for the court to order the commencement of this trial otherwise it will not kick off during our lifetime ," he said.

Reza accused Biti of employing delaying tactics.

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