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Biti assault trial resumes on March 28

by Staff reporter
28 Feb 2022 at 00:20hrs | Views
The interrupted trial of lawyer Tendai Biti on assault charges resumes on March 28 after the High Court rejected his application for the trial to start afresh in front of a new magistrate with a new prosecutor.

Biti is facing allegations of manhandling a Russian national Ms Tatiana Aleshina during an altercation outside Harare Magistrates Court.

The trial proceedings were stayed in October last year when Biti made his application for a restart of the trial alleging bias, but Justice Tawanda Chitapi dismissed the application last week after he found that trial magistrate Ms Vongai Muchuchuti Guwuriro had not shown bias when dismissing applications from Biti for further delays and that prosecutor Mr Michael Reza had not acted incorrectly.

The trial had already been postponed on a number of occasions at the instigation of Biti's lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama, and the application to the High Court arose after Mr Muchadehama did not attend a trial session because he was engaged in a matter with the Master of the High Court's Office, but after finding the matter was concluded and the lawyer was simply remaining to discuss the Master's fee, the magistrate declined to grant a further delay.

Ms Aleshina is one of the witnesses in a case involving building contractor George Katsimberis who is alleged to have defrauded a land developer with whom he had entered into a joint venture to build cluster houses in Harare's Borrowdale suburb.

In the matter, Katsimberis is accused of using plans that were not approved by Harare City Council which led to the show house being demolished.

Ms Aleshina is the chief operating officer of the land developer.

She claims that on November 30 in 2020 as she was about to leave the court gallery after a court session, Biti allegedly threatened to harm her.

"It was clear to all people who were in the court gallery that Mr Biti took delight not only in verbally abusing me, but in trying to intimidate me and felt that, as a woman and foreigner of Russian origin, I was a nonentity to him and that he would use every extra judicial means to crush me or harm or destroy me for daring to be a witness in the criminal matter against his client," she said.

Source - The Herald