Biti fined US$300 for verbal assault Mrs Aleshina

Prosper Dembedza-Herald Correspondent 

AFTER a four-year trial, Harare Magistrate Mrs Vongai Guwuriro yesterday ordered Tendai Biti to pay a US$300 fine (or six months in jail) after she found him guilty of a verbal and threatening assault on businesswoman and investor Mrs Tatiana Aleshina outside the Harare Magistrates Court in 2020.

A further six month jail term was wholly suspended on condition that he does not commit a similar offence in the next five years.

The magistrate said Biti was not a first offender and was once convicted for contravening the Electoral Act.

While acknowledging that the assault was not premeditated, the magistrate noted that Biti was a legal practitioner and ought to have managed his emotions.

He was also a Member of Parliament at that time, so the public expected more from his behaviour.

“The accused abused the court and wasted its time by making his applications for referral to the Constitutional Court on a piece meal basis.

“A custodial sentence would be too harsh. Community service should be reserved for more serious offences, it would be too harsh. But the impact of the assault to the complainant could not be ignored,” said Mrs Guwuriro.

While more was expected from Biti considering his stature in society, the mitigation factors of the defence outweighed the aggravation of the State, she ruled.

In mitigation, Biti’s lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama said his client was 56-years-old and married with five children of which three of the children are at university.

He pays fees for the children and takes care of his mother who is widowed.

Mr Muchadehama said Biti was genuinely sorry for what happened on the day in question. In aggravation, the State led by Advocate Tafara Chirambira said a fine is too trivial for this case and therefore it will not be sufficient.

Advocate Chirambira said the accused is a person of means and a fine will not suit the gravity of the offence.

He added that the court should not be influenced by politics or newspapers.

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