Prosper Dembedza Correspondent
CCC official Tendai Biti, who is facing charges of manhandling Russian investor Ms Tatiana Aleshina outside Harare Magistrates Court, is yet again seeking the recusal of Harare magistrate Mrs Vongai Guwuriro Muchuchuti from presiding over his trial.
Biti late last year made such an application, but it was dismissed by the same magistrate, prompting him to appeal against her ruling at the High Court.
High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi dismissed Biti’s appeal due to lack of substance before ordering the matter to continue from where it was left.
In his application yesterday, Biti said he had so far filed seven applications against Mrs Guwuriro Muchuchuti, meaning she was now his opponent.
Biti told the court that he now felt he would not get a free and fair trial before her.
“I have seven applications against this magistrate and that means we are now enemies.”
Prosecutor Mr Tafara Chirambira opposed the application, saying it was baseless.
“Does it mean if a court makes a decision which is against an accused person it has become malicious or biased?” he said.
“Justice does not mean that the litigant gets what they want. Recusal is not just there for the taking. Presiding officers have the right to sit and decide cases.”
Mr Chirambira said all the issues which Biti raised in his latest application were just the same as those dismissed by Justice Chitapi.
“Once we say a court becomes biased by making a ruling against an accused person then we are headed for disaster,” he said.
But Mrs Guwuriro Muchuchuti now has to consider the matter, and the trial has been adjourned to May 16 for her ruling.
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 that 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.
Meanwhile, Biti’s legal clerk Constantine Chaza, who is facing two fresh counts of fraud in quite separate matters, had his trial deferred to May 18 following indications that the presiding magistrate was not around.