Biti’s lawyer fails to show up at court




Ttendai Biti

The lawyer representing MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti in the case in which he is alleged to have manhandled a Russian national during an altercation outside Harare Magistrates Court, failed to show up for trial last Friday despite proposing that date.

Mr Alec Muchadehama sent his representative, Mr Jeremiah Bhamu, to seek postponement of the matter to July 8 saying he was engaged at the Supreme Court.

“I was given the accused’s file by Mr Muchadehama’s personal assistant this morning and she told me that he was attending a Supreme Court matter. Mr Muchadehama gave me instructions that he will be available on July 8,” he said.

Responding to the application, senior prosecutor Mr Micheal Reza told the court that he was shocked by Mr Muchadehama’s absence since he was the one who suggested that date.

“There is nothing before the court to show that he is engaged at the Supreme Court except for bold statements submitted by Mr Bhamu. Mr Muchadehama is not being candid with the court, we have no guarantee that he will show up for trial on July 8,” said Mr Reza, adding that the defence was just not ready for trial. He urged the court to speak to Mr Muchadehama to take court proceedings seriously.

Harare regional magistrate Mrs Vongai Muchuchuti Guwuriro deferred the matter to July 8 for trial commencement.  Biti recently had his application for the recusal of Mr Reza dismissed due to lack of merit.  In her ruling, Mrs Guwuriro said the court was not convinced that Mr Reza was likely to affect fairness in the trial.

“The defence provided nothing before the court which proved that Mr Reza was likely to prosecute unfairly in this trial,” she said. She further ruled that the defense did not provide reasonable grounds on why Mr Reza should be recused from the matter. It is the State’s case that Ms Tatiana Aleshina was allegedly insulted and assaulted by Biti outside the court but in the premises.

Ms Aleshina filed a report with the police and has also lodged two further complaints with the Law Society of Zimbabwe. Ms Aleshina wants Biti investigated for alleged gross unprofessional conduct and alleges she and her workmates were intimidated and verbally abused outside the court each time they came for proceedings. Ms Aleshina is one of the witnesses in the George Katsimberis criminal case involving alleged fraud regarding a joint venture with Pokugara Properties to build cluster houses in Harare’s Borrowdale suburb.

In the matter, Katsimberis is accused of using plans that were not approved by council which led to the show house being demolished. Ms Aleshina is the chief operating officer of Pokugara Properties.  She claimed that on August 29 last year as she was about to leave the court gallery after a court session and in the company of her workmate Mr Simbarashe Kadye, the company’s chief finance officer, Biti confronted them and said: “I am going to take your house, clothes and panties and leave you with nothing. I am not joking!”

Biti then allegedly turned to Ms Aleshina reportedly shouting that she was very stupid and threatened her.

“It was clear to all people who were in the court gallery that Mr Biti took delight not only in verbally abusing me, but in trying to intimidate me and felt that, as a woman and foreigner of Russian origin, I was a nonentity to him and that he would use every extra judicial system means to crush me or harm or destroy me for daring to be a witness in the criminal matter against his client,” she stated in her complaint.

Source – the herald