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Don’t waste court's time, Biti told

Local News
Tendai Biti

HARARE regional magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro yesterday told opposition CCC legislator Tendai Biti not to waste the court's time by submitting long and confusing court applications as a way of trying to wriggle out of his assault case.

 Biti is accused of verbally assaulting businesswoman Tatiana Aleshina at the Harare Magistrates Court in November 2020. His trial has been stalled by several applications he has made, including seeking recusal of the magistrate presiding over his case.

On Monday, his application for referral to the Constitutional Court, which he took almost five months to complete, was dismissed by Muchuchuti-Guwuriro who ruled that it was frivolous and vexatious.

When State prosecutor Michael Reza put the matter to trial and asked Biti to plead the charges, the Harare East MP objected and elected to file another application for recusal of Muchuchuti-Guwuriro for the third time.

His previous attempts to have Muchuchuti-Guwuriro recused were blocked by the High Court.

In yesterday’s proceedings, Biti's lawyer Alec Muchadehama asked for a postponement of the matter saying they wanted more time to study the judgment of the dismissal of the referral of the matter to the ConCourt.

Muchadehama said he also had other court cases to attend to, but Reza opposed the application for postponement saying the defence had already been given opportunity to study the judgment.

"l do not see any merit on this application.  You read your ruling on Monday 13 February.  After reading of the ruling, the procedure is you highlight points which you want to argue on. The ruling is short and the defence should use that to make their application.

“I checked with clerk of court and one of the reasons is that they failed to pay for the record and they only paid for it this morning. I believe this application has no merit and they need to proceed to make their application without fail," Reza said.

But Muchadehama protested, saying: "The accused person wants to relate to your judgment and this must be fully done without misinterpreting your judgment. Your ruling is not short, it's 20 pages we need to check cited cases."

The magistrate, however, dismissed the application for postponement and ordered the trial to proceed saying it had dragged for too long.

Biti, who was on the witness stand started, submitting his evidence on why he wanted the magistrate to be recused.

Magistrate Muchuchuti-Guwuriro stopped him midway, saying the application was similar to his previous application.

"Mr Muchadehama, we are coming from an application for referral to ConCourt and we took a year and we want this matter to be finalised, maybe you can order your client to put it in writing because it seems you're dragging the matter. You're repeating what you have been saying all year and it's unfair to the administration of justice.

"If you can't file it tomorrow, let's have it submitted in court right now. We need to make progress in this matter, this matter has been dragging."

Biti continued with his fresh application, arguing that his constitutional rights to a fair hearing were being violated.

 "The Constitution in section 165 makes it clear that justice must not always be done but must be seen to be done. Since October your judgments on my applications have been predictable even to people in the gallery, they kneww you're going to dismiss my applications,"Biti said.

The opposition leader will continue submitting his application tomorrow.

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