Zimbabwe: Biti Assault Trial Adjourned

19 September 2023

The assault trial for Tendai Biti has been adjourned to September 29 when the politician is expected to be placed to his defence.

The postponement came after his lawyer told the court that he intends to read its ruling in their recent application for discharge, which was dismissed.

Biti is facing charges of assaulting businesswoman and investor, Mrs Tatiana Aleshina, at the Harare Magistrates Court.

Biti had his recent application for discharge at the close of the State's case dismissed by Harare magistrate Mrs Vongai Muchuchuti Guwuriro, who said the State managed to prove a prima facie case against him.

In that application, Biti argued that the charge was defective.

However, Deputy Prosecutor-General Mr Michael Reza opposed the application.

Mr Reza said the section under which the accused charged requires that there should be evidence showing that Biti threatened in any manner, to assault Mrs Aleshina or realising that a possibility of immediate physical assault was about to take place.

"Three of the four State witnesses testified that indeed, it is what was about to happen. The accused was in a no-nonsense mood as he advanced towards the complainant," said Mr Reza.

He further submitted that Biti preceded his impending action by labelling the complainant a "stupid, stupid idiot".

"There is medical evidence both oral and documentary, which shows that the complainant was convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that she was about to be beaten up," he said.

Mr Reza said the State contends that it has established a prima facie case of assault against Biti and that he should be put to his defence.

He also said the defence admitted that many other people were shocked by Biti's behaviour.

"They admit that the complainant testified that she was approached by at least two people who expressed shock at what the accused had done and one such person advised the complainant to go to the police," said Mr Reza.

Mr Reza said the doctor's medical notes show that Mrs Aleshina was stressed and felt dizzy and almost fainted after the assault.

"It was not only the complainant who felt that she was in immediate danger, Michael Van Blerk and Givemore Kasekete, who both testified, corroborated the complainant's evidence that there was every indication that the accused was going to beat up the complainant right there and then," he said.

He further submitted that Van Blerk testified that he had to step in between the advancing Biti and Mrs Aleshina, who was now completely immobilised by fear.

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