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Biti Savages Magistrate Over Infringement of ‘Right to Legal Representation’

MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti had no kind words for regional magistrate Wongai Guwuriro- Muchuchuti after she allowed his ‘assault’ trial to continue in the absence of his legal counsel Alec Muchadehama.

Biti is facing assault charges following a verbal altercation outside Harare Magistrates court premises with controversial Russian lady Tatiana Aleshina last year.

He was seeking postponement of the matter as Muchadehama was engaged at the Master of High Court.

However, Magistrate Muchuchuti dismissed the application and ordered trial to proceed without defence counsel.

Biti took to the witness stand to express his dismay over Muchuchuti’s ruling.

“The court itself with great respect is abusing my rights to be protected by the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the court’s rulings today this morning clearly demonstrates beyond a shadow of doubt quod erat demonstrandum the gross abuse of my rights by the court itself. I say this dispassionately, professionally and respectfully.

“It is a fundamental right of an accused person to the right to representation that right is sacrosanct and cannot be subtracted and is codified in Section 50 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Whatever your finding my lady on Mr. Muchadehama cannot have the consequence, cannot have the effect as it has done of denying me my right to legal representation a Constitutional right codified by the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the finding that is so prejudicial,” charged Biti.

He added “The fact that I am a legal practitioner in my own right does not take away my right to a legal practitioner. I cannot as you have put me in a position to I cannot lead evidence myself. I cannot control myself. One of the things that a lawyer does when leading evidence in chief is to control the tempo of a client’s testimony, I can’t do that.

“So you grossly assaulted my Constitutional rights but this is not the first time your worship, consistently throughout these proceedings you have ruled against accused person (himself). Simple applications for postponement are turned down. How does that happen?”

Biti argued that the matter had been blown out of proportion as he had never assaulted Aleshina.

“As a matter of fact despite the attempt to call it an assault it is not an assault at the very most it is a matter of a verbal altercation between myself and the complainant Tatiana Aleshina. As I testified last week assuming without pleading that I called her an idiot, how does that verbal exchange create this brouhaha that the court constantly puts itself in a position where it is constantly and persistently making decisions that are inexplicable and coincidentally in favour of the State,” said Biti

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