Zimbabwe: Cornered Biti Hits Out At Magistrate

Harare magistrate Mrs Vongai Muchuchuti yesterday blasted the lawyer representing MDC-Alliance vice president Tendai Biti for trying to delay court proceedings by seeking a seventh consecutive postponement.

Biti is facing allegations of manhandling a Russian woman during an altercation outside the Harare Magistrates Court. The matter has now been postponed six times at the instigation of lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama.

Yesterday, Mr Muchadehama sent a representative, Mr Jeremiah Bhamu, to seek a postponement of the matter to October 21 saying he was engaged at the Master of High Court.

However, the State led by senior prosecutor Mr Michael Reza and Mr Tafara Chirambira, opposed the application for postponement arguing that Mr Muchadehama and Biti were trying to delay proceedings.

This prompted Mrs Muchuchuti to request Mr Reza to confirm from the Master of High Court if Mr Muchadehama was still engaged, resulting in the court briefly adjourning.

When the court resumed at 11:15am, Mr Reza told the court that Mr Muchadehama had been engaged at the High Court but the meeting he had gone there to attend had finished at 9am.

This resulted in Mrs Muchuchuti ruling that the matter should proceed without Mr Muchadehama.

She said Mr Muchadehama deliberately chose not to come to represent his client.

Biti was put to the witness stand where he was placed by Mr Muchadehama last week while leading evidence on their application for referral of the matter to the Constitutional Court.

He then started accusing the ruling Zanu PF, The Herald, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity Mr Nick Mangwana and Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, for trying to destroy his image. He accused Mrs Muchuchuti of being biased and abusing his constitutional rights.

Biti went on to accuse Mrs Muchuchuti of ruling against him on every application he makes.

The matter was then deferred to October 18 for continuation.

Mrs Muchuchuti last week dismissed Biti’s application for exception.

In her ruling, Mrs Muchuchuti said the application by the defence lacked essential elements.

She said the defence also did not disclose any prejudice they will suffer if they were to plead.

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