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Biti finally kicks off

by Staff reporter
20 Feb 2023 at 05:26hrs | Views
The protracted assault case in which lawyer and opposition politician Tendai Biti is accused of assaulting a property investor, Mrs Tatiana Aleshina, finally kicked off in court last Friday with the Russian-born businesswoman narrating how she was assaulted by Biti three years ago as the fiery legislator was finally put to his defence.

A visibly emotional Mrs Aleshina fought back tears as she was narrated how she was assaulted by the CCC vice president at the Harare Magistrates sometime in 2020.

Mrs Aleshina told  the court that she froze when the opposition legislator charged towards her and feared he would physically attack her.

Biti is facing a charge of assaulting Ms Aleshina outside the court complex as they awaited a court hearing.

Leading evidence after being queried by Deputy Prosecutor General Mr  Michael Reza, Mrs Aleshina said she had never come across such an unruly character in all her life.

She told court that Biti was aggressive and intimidatory, pointing his finger at her while shouting unprintable words.

"As we were walking in the corridor, I suddenly heard noise and shouting behind my back with someone saying ‘Tatiana, you're a stupid, stupid, stupid idiot!"

Ms Aleshina said she immediately stopped in shock only to see Tendai Biti with a crowd of people charging towards her.

"I did not understand what was going on as I had never seen him personally. I never knew who he  was," she said .

"My colleague Michael Van Blerk then tried to protect me and stood in front of me and someone said it was dangerous for us to remain in that place.

"He was aggressive and I felt like he would physically attack me. I am a mother of five kids and a foreigner in this country. I never experienced this in my life and I thought I was in danger and I left," Ms Aleshina said.

She said she felt Biti was going to kill her.

"I felt he was violating my rights as a woman and he was showing me men's power."

Ms Aleshina said after the incident, she felt confused and wandered around the court building for some minutes looking for an exit point.

"Somebody came to me while I walking out and asked why Biti was shouting at me. I couldn't answer that. Someone said Biti could not treat women like that and I needed to report him to police.

"I decided to go to the Russian embassy and reported the matter. They calmed me down and we managed to call my lawyers and they accompanied me to the police to report the matter," she told court.

She said while at the police station, she realised that half of her body was numb and she could not move even her hand.

Police offered to assist her to go to the hospital but she then proceeded to Borrowdale Trauma Centre on her own where she got treatment.

Magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro postponed the matter to Thursday this week for continuation of trial.

The trial took place after long arguments with Biti's defence lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama wanting to file another application for referral to the Constitutional Court after the first one had been dismissed by magistrate Muchuchuti-Guwuriro.

The magistrate had also dismissed another application for her recusal by Biti saying this was a bid to delay the trial.

However Biti initially refused to enter a plea saying he did not want to be subjected to a trial on a charge which was defective.

He later presented his defence to the charge saying there was no distinction between the insults in the charge sheet and the alleged assault.

He further said he could not be subjected to trial on provisions that were unconstitutional saying this violated his constitutional rights.

Source - The Herald
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