Tempers Flare At Biti ‘Assault’ Trial

Tempers flared at Harare Magistrates Court this morning during the trial of MDC Alliance deputy president Tendai Biti as prosecutor Michael Reza lost his cool threatening to call defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama ‘an idiot’.

Biti is facing charges of assault after an altercation with Pokugara Properties chief operations officer Tatiana Aleshina outside the Harare Magistrates Court in November last year.

Muchadehama had presented before Harare Magistrate Wongai Guwuriro a letter from Biti’s law firm confirming that  Biti had come in contact with a COVID-19 positive person therefore could not stand trial but was at the court premises.

Reza applied for a warrant of arrest arguing that the Court had not granted leave to Biti.

“COVID-19 positive or not, we do not know any of that … in fact section 194 (2) of the CP and E says if the accused person absence himself during the trial without leave of the courts I did not hear this court excusing the accused not to be here all we have is a letter from a law firm which is saying certain things.

“Your worship that letter from a law firm cannot be a substitute for COVID-19 positive results, this is a lawyer who is just saying has been in contact with somebody who has turned out to be COVID-19 positive. What we do not know is for a fact whether the person mentioned to be COVID-19 positive is indeed positive. This a person who was warned to appear before this court at 0900 hrs leave has not been granted to absent himself so therefore a warrant of arrest must be issued,” charged Reza

Muchadehama objected that Reza’s application was malicious since the COVID-19 was a pandemic that was affecting everyone and needed World Health Organisation laid procedures to be followed.

After a brief adjournment that was meant to ascertain his presence at the Courts, Biti entered the gallery with Muchadehama insisting that the warrant of arrest application was malicious.

An emotionally charged Reza quickly objected “Your worship if my learned brother continues to say I am malicious I will call him an idiot”

Magistrate Guwuriro reprimanded the two parties and later deferred proceedings to the 28th of July 2021.

In June, Biti applied for the recusal of Reza citing that he had a personal vendetta emanating from their previous court encounters. The application was dismissed by Magistrate Guwuriro.


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