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I Don’t Feel Safe, Biti Tells Magistrate

Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) vice president, Tendai Biti says he does not feel safe under Harare regional magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro who is presiding over his alleged assault trial.

Biti is facing assault charges emanating from a verbal altercation with Kenneth Raydon Sharpe owned Pokugara Properties chief operations officer Tatiana Aleshina outside the Harare Magistrates Court in 2020.

Through his lawyer Alec Muchadehama, Biti has applied for the recusal of magistrate Guwuriro saying she is biased against him.

Speaking during cross examination, Biti said the latest application is the seventh against the magistrate and has since written to the Judiciary Service Commission expressing his displeasure on the conduct of the magistrate.

“I don’t feel safe before the court, I don’t feel that I can get an objective judgement from the court that is why I have made the application for recusal. In any event, as is clear from my application I have now filed seven applications against her ladyship, she is the first respondent in seven applications I have filed including a report I made against her to the Judicial Service Commission.

“So for all intents and purposes, the court and I are now protagonists, so it is unfair for the court to put be put in the position it is. It is unfair for me to be put in the position I am in. I said in my testimony, justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done so your ladyship objectively can’t sit in my cases because we are now protagonists, we are now opponents, we are now at war with each other literally that is the basis of application for recusal,” charged Biti.

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Trial proceedings were stayed after Biti had applied for review of a ruling by magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti Guwuriro and also sought the recusal of the same magistrate and prosecutor Michael Reza whom he accused of being biased against him.

The review application was dismissed by High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi who ordered the commencement of trial and has filed a notice of appeal with the Supreme Court seeking the decision to be overturned.

At the commencement of trial, Biti sought postponement of the matter pending the outcome of the Supreme Court appeal notice. However, Guwuriro would dismiss the application ordering that trial proceed.

Trial continues on May 16 with Guwuriro expected to make a ruling on the latest application.

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