Biti assault trial: Verdict today

Prosper Dembedza-Herald Correspondent 

THE verdict in the assault trial of lawyer Tendai Biti is expected to be given today by Harare magistrate Mrs Vongai Guwuriro.

Biti is facing allegations of verbally assaulting and threatening Mrs Tatiana Aleshina at the Harare Magistrates Court on November 30, 2020.

In his closing submissions, Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza said the words used by Biti while insulting Mrs Aleshina were not expected to be used by a lawyer of such seniority.

“He boasted in court that he has more than 30 years of experience in the legal field, and that he is a lawyer of repute. He used some of the most disrespectful words to describe the complainant, words which are not expected to be used by a lawyer of such seniority,” said Mr Reza.

He further stated that Biti’s attempt to paint himself as a knight in shining armour backfired spectacularly when he let loose the real reasons he shouted at and insulted Mrs Aleshina.

 Mr Reza said Biti conceded that he was appearing in other courts where he was representing his clients that are in conflict with the complainant.

“Very clearly, he thoroughly disliked her personally because he identified her as a person who is standing between his clients and whatever it is that his clients hoped to achieve,” he said.

Further, Mr Reza submitted that during the trial, Biti had falsely accused Mrs Aleshina of having a hand in the appointment of Government functionaries and commissioners to run Harare City Council.

“Some of the things Mrs Aleshina is alleged to have done go as far back as 2002 when there is no evidence that she was even in Zimbabwe, but the accused blamed her anyway,” Mr Reza said.

The State further submitted that all three witnesses who testified against Biti corroborated their testimony, leaving the State’s case proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Mr Reza said the fact that Biti failed to bring even one witness in his defence was enough proof of his guilt.

 Biti is denying the offence and has challenged the charge of assault by gesture, saying he was being charged under an unconstitutional Act.

He said he did not know Mrs Aleshina as of November 30, 2020, when the incident happened.

Biti said his conversation with Mrs Aleshina did not last a minute, adding that he was not angry on the day in question. While Biti did not physically touch Mrs Aleshina, it is the State case that there was a confrontation and that he shouted at her.

That made her feel threatened, the State argued.

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