Judge rejects Biti bid for ConCourt intervention in assault trial

HARARE – High Court judge Rodgers Manyangadze has dismissed an application by Harare East lawmaker, Tendai Biti who was seeking referral of his verbal assault case to the Constitutional Court.

The judge did not give reasons for his ruling promising to release the full judgement on a later date.

Biti is accused of verbally assaulting Russian businesswoman Tatiana Aleshina when the two met at the Harare Magistrates’ Court back in 2020.

In seeking referral to the apex court, the senior opposition politician and lawyer argued his charges did not, at law, constitute any criminal offence.

He had sought the ConCourt’s intervention after his application was dismissed by Harare magistrate Vongai Guuriro Muchuchuti.

Trial commenced recently despite several protests by Biti who also unsuccessfully sought recusal of the presiding magistrate.

Last week, Biti’s application for stay of proceedings was also dismissed by the High Court.

Aleshina alleges that she was verbally assaulted by Biti for no reason.

The incident, she alleges, left her traumatised and humiliated since she had never been intimidated in that manner before.

After the insult, Aleshina claims she developed some stress related health complications and had to seek medical remedy.

The State, represented by Michael Reza, feels Biti is buying time as progress has stalled over the past two years at his instance.

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