HARARE – Citizens for Coalition Change (CCC) vice president Tendai Biti on Tuesday asked a court to delay his criminal trial pending an appeal to the Supreme Court in a matter in which he is accused of insulting a Russian national.
The Harare East MP argues that presiding magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti and prosecutor Michael Reza have shown bias warranting the matter to be heard by a different team of court officials.
Muchuchuti is expected to hand down her ruling on the application on March 31.
The magistrate previously threw out Biti’s application for her recusal. Biti also lost on appeal at the High Court before he took up the matter to the Supreme Court.
The 55-year-old human rights lawyer wants the trial stayed until the Supreme Court determines his appeal against Justice Tawanda Chitapi’s judgement.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has however accused him of trying to permanently stop the trial proceedings.
Reza said their application must fail.
The matter has been hanging since 2020.
Biti is alleged to have shouted insults at Russian national Tatiana Aleshina, who is an associate of the controversial businessman Ken Sharpe.
Aleshina had attended a court case in which building contractor George Katsimberis was alleged to have defrauded Sharpe, with whom he had entered into a joint venture to build cluster houses in Harare’s Borrowdale suburb.
Biti is Katsimberis’ lawyer.