The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Biti’s 3rd ConCourt applicatio­n turned down

- Prosper Dembedza Herald Correspond­ent

OPPOSITION politician Tendai Biti failed again yesterday to have points of law in his trial for verbal and threatenin­g assault referred to the Constituti­onal Court, with Harare magistrate Mrs Vongai Guwuriro dismissing the applicatio­n, saying she had an obligation to expedite matters.

Biti had his two previous applicatio­ns of the same nature dismissed by the same magistrate.

He is facing charges of verbally assaulting businesswo­man and investor Mrs Tatiana Aleshina, and threatenin­g her, at the Harare Magistrate­s Court in 2020.

In dismissing the applicatio­n, the magistrate said she had noted that Biti was making the same kind of applicatio­n for the third time and was raising the same issues which he raised before, apparently to delay the court processes.

“The court will not allow him to make another applicatio­n for the third time. The court needs to expedite matters in the interest of justice,” said the magistrate.

Mrs Guwuriro said she needed to expedite the case otherwise it would be heard forever.

Biti, who is submitting his defence, had raised constituti­onal questions arguing that his constituti­onal rights were being infringed upon.

Deputy prosecutor general Mr Michael Reza counter-argued that Biti’s applicatio­n was frivolous and vexetious.

“He has made such applicatio­ns before and they were dismissed. I don’t know whether to cry or laugh because this applicatio­n ought to be dismissed,” said Mr Reza, adding that the court was now functus officio.

During the previous sitting, Biti insisted that he did not physically assault Mrs Aleshina.

The trial is now in its third year with the matter going on at snail’s pace due to postponeme­nts and applicatio­ns at the instigatio­n of the defence.

Submitting his defence, Biti told the court that putting the charge on him as done by the State was invalid from a common law point of view. He said it was an infringeme­nt of his constituti­onal rights.

“Your Worship, if you say I’m an idiot, I will just laugh at you because the word means nothing to me,” said Biti.

The State argues that while Biti did not physically assault Mrs Aleshina, the way he bore down on her in apparent rage, shouting and insulting her, induced such high levels of fear of physical assault that she needed medical treatment, and that a colleague of hers was so frightened that he interposed himself between Biti and Mrs Aleshina.

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