BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti has approached the High Court to stop his trial at the Magistrates Court where he is accused of verbally assaulting a Russian national, Tatiana Aleshina.
Biti, through his lawyer Aleck Muchadehama filed an application to quash indictment in terms of section 178 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, as well as recusal of the magistrate Vongai Muchchuti Guwuriro and prosecutor Michael Reza in the case.
But Reza filed a response to the application before High Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi, saying a motion to quash an indictment can only be made where the charges preferred to embarrass or prejudice an accused person.
He said the court must dismiss the application as Biti had submitted a triable issue.
“It is not a remedy to avoid trial where one feels they have a good defence for the charge they are facing as is the case before the court. The accused person faces a charge of assault as defined in section 89(1) (b) of Chapter 9:23.
“The essential elements of this charge being that any person who threatens, whether by words or gestures, to assault another person, intending to inspire, or realizing that there is a real risk or possibility of inspiring, in the mind of the person threatened, a reasonable fear or belief that force will immediately be used against him or her, “Reza submitted.
He said Biti’s attempts to avoid trial were not premised on a proper foundation and cannot stand.
Biti had also submitted that the trial must be quashed because it embarrasses him or prejudices him as an accused person.
Justice Chitapi will deliver the ruling this week.
Allegations are that on November 30 last year, Aleshina was walking out of court at the Harare Magistrate Court where she had attended a case of fraud involving her employer. She was in the company of Simbarashe Kadye and Michael Van Blerk.
Biti had attended the same court hearing representing George Katsimberis who had allegedly defrauded Aleshina’s employer. He allegedly charged towards Aleshina pointing his right forefinger at her face, and shouted unprintable words at her.
The State alleges that Aleshina did not respond to the insults. As a result of shock, she was hospitalised at Borrowdale Trauma Centre.