Biti loses bid to avoid fill-in prosecutor Tendai Biti

Prosper Dembedza-Herald Correspondent

The trial of opposition politician Tendai Biti, on charges of verbally assaulting businesswoman and investor Mrs Tatiana Aleshina at the Harare Magistrates Court in 2020, continued last Friday, although Biti complained about prosecutor Mr Tafara Chirambira standing in for Deputy Prosecutor General Mr Michael Reza. 

Through his lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama, Biti said it was not proper for Mr Chirambira to stand in for Mr Reza since he was not previously part of the case and had not been part of the trial and therefore could not relate with issues that were raised.

He said it would be a forced continuation of trial, especially when Mr Reza was away.

In response, Mr Chirambira said a trial could be taken over by another prosecutor. 

His presence was not something new since he had been assisting Mr Reza from the beginning, he said. 

“The accused suffers no prejudice if I’m not aware of some of the issues that came up. All I am saying is let us proceed with the matter since I am ready,” he said. 

Mr Chirambira further submitted that the interests of justice were that criminal trials had to be dealt with to a finality and not be dragged on to take a lifetime. 

Harare magistrate Mrs Vongai Guwuriro dismissed the objection by Biti, saying it lacked merit and telling him to proceed with his defence. 

Biti then insisted that he did not plead to the charge, arguing that it was defective. The trial was adjourned to October 10.

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