High Court Stays Biti Assault Trial
26 October 2021

By Jane Mlambo| The High Court of Zimbabwe has ordered for a stay of proceedings in a case in which opposition MDC Alliance vice President Tendai Biti is facing trial for allegedly assaulting a Russian national and Pokugara Properties employee Tatiana Aleshina.

Biti approached the High Court appeal, challenging Harare Regional Magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti Guwuriro’s 13 October 2021 ruling in which she ordered trial to proceed despite the absence of his legal counsel Alec Muchadehama who was attending to another matter at the Master of High Court.

Guwuriro’s decision to proceed with trial deprived Biti of his right to legal representation.

He then filed a High Court appeal challenging Guwuriro’s decision and got an order to stop proceedings at the Magistrates court until the appeal is settled.

State Prosecutor Michael Reza desperately tried to push for the court to deliver a ruling on an application made by Biti for the recusal of Guwuriro saying they had verbally agreed that it could still be done.

But Biti’s lawyer Mitchel Mamimina from Mbizo, Muchadehama and Makoni legal practitioners insisted on following what the High Court order said and not what was agreed at an informal meeting.

Guwuriro then ruled that trial could not proceed, as the High Court order was clear in stopping all proceedings at the magistrates’ court.

Biti is accused of assaulting a Russian national Tatiana Aleshina at the Harare magistrates’ court premises last year.

Meanwhile, Biti’s High Court application has opened a pandora’s box after he revealed damning details of how Guwuriro and Reza are conniving to punish him.

In his application, Biti expressed shock that a senior magistrate and an acting deputy Prosecutor General were presiding over a mere case of assault.

“I pointed out that the First Respondent was clearly biased and further that she clearly was weaponising the law against me. I also pointed out right in her face that at times I felt like I was being prosecuted by three prosecutors herself on the bench and Mr Reza and his co-prosecutor Mr Tafara Charambira,” said Biti.