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New twist in Tendai Biti case

by Staff reporter
23 January 2019 | 4937 Views
MDC Alliance Harare East MP Tendai Biti's case of inciting public violence took a new twist after he applied for recusal of the magistrate, who gave him a warrant of arrest on Monday.

Biti, through his defence team led by Beatrice Mtetwa, yesterday accused Harare regional magistrate Gloria Takundwa of lacking impartiality and if allowed to hear the trial, will prejudice Biti of a fair trial.

Magistrate Takundwa also dismissed the applications placed before her namely application for exception, jurisdiction, splitting of charges and further particulars in which Biti demanded V11 forms from last year's election to form his defence outline.

"The ruling given by the court was unfair as she ruled that Biti committed the crime without hearing his defence in trial, in fact, the court has rejected his defense outline by not ordering the State to give him the v11 and v23 forms.

"So it is our humble submission that proceeding to trial with a judicial officer who has concluded that the accused's defense is not a defence at all would prejudice his rights to a fair trial.

"Biti's conviction is already sealed which is why this application for recusal is necessary because it appears the magistrate has an interest in the matter and will not adjudicate impartially.

'Even in the matter of the warrant of arrest, it was dealt with unfairly as an explanation had been offered by Biti and his counsels yet the court treated the matter like he was in willful default," said Beatrice Mtetwa.

Mtetwa further laid complaints as the matter was not heard at the set 9am because the magistrate was 'indisposed' and it would be proper for her to recuse herself from the matter handing over power to a magistrate with an unjaundiced view.

The State, led by Jonathan Murombedzi, opposed the application due to lack of merit saying that it was the applications that were dismissed not Biti's defense outline.

"There is never a time that the court said he is guilty of an offense she only elaborated on what the trial is going to expose and the attack on the magistrate about the warrant is uncalled for.

"No court with decency would allow an accused person to absent himself from court and dictate how the court should deal with the issue, all things being equal, we are all bound by the court," said Murombedzi.

Magistrate Takundwa dismissed the application saying that she is impartial and will give Biti a fair trial.

The matter will be back in court today for trial continuation.

Biti Court Magistrate

Source: hmetro


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