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Biti appeals against assault conviction, sentencing

by Staff reporter
08 Mar 2024 at 00:14hrs | Views
Opposition figure Tendai Biti has lodged an appeal with the High Court challenging his recent conviction and sentencing.

Biti, a former Finance Minister, was found guilty by Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti of verbally assaulting Tatiana Aleshina, a Russian national, following a full trial. Despite the conviction, Biti avoided imprisonment and was instead fined for the offense.

Maintaining his innocence, Biti contended that the allegations against him did not constitute criminal behavior and should have warranted a warning or caution instead. He also expressed remorse to Aleshina, affirming that he never intended to cause her harm.

In his appeal, Biti argued that the magistrate erred in convicting him. He highlighted discrepancies in the interpretation of assault laws, particularly citing Section 88 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act), which, he asserted, invalidated the charge of assault by word or gesture.

Furthermore, Biti criticized his sentence as excessive, deeming it shock-inducing given the trivial nature of the offense. He urged the High Court to either quash the sentence or refer the matter to the Constitutional Court to determine if his constitutional rights were infringed.

Alternatively, Biti proposed that if his conviction were upheld, the High Court impose a reduced fine of US$100 or its equivalent in Zimbabwean dollars at the official rate.

The appeal is pending a hearing.

Source - newzimbabwe