Biti Convicted and Awaits Sentencing Tuesday


By Staff Reporter

Prominent opposition politician and top lawyer, Tendai Biti has been found guilty of verbally assaulting a Russian national, also employed by property mogul and investor Ken Sharpe.

The former lawmaker was convicted after a full trial by Harare magistrate, Vongai Muchuchuti.

Prosecutors proved that Biti insulted Aleshina by calling her “a very stupid idiot.”

He denies the charges and his lawyer, Alec Muchadehama said they will be filing an appeal against conviction at the High Court.

Muchadehama Reacts

“So he was being charged for assault by gesture and by words. So the magistrate has found him guilty as charged in the sense that he is alleged to have called one Tatiana Aleshina stupid and also pointed a finger at her in a manner that adjudged, was threatening and therefore said she had been  assaulted.

“I must say that from the onset  we contest the verdict of guilty on various grounds. We felt strongly that this was a constitutional matter that ought to have been heard at the Constitutional court.

“We also contest the legality of section 89 (1) (b) under which he was charged. We also contest the findings of the magistrate that the witnesses were credible . 

“We also contest the fact that Tendai’s evidence was not rebutted by the state so for these reasons we are going to file an appeal to the High court,” said Muchadehama.

The assault occurred at Harare magistrates court in 2020.

Biti has been on trial for the past three years trying to fight prosecution complaining that the charge was not criminal.

He also argued that criminal insult was outlawed and there was no physical contact with Aleshina.

However, the magistrate dismissed his defence ruling that the State managed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Magistrate Rules

She ruled, “What remains critical is that she went to receive medication. She was prescribed some medication although she refused to be admitted.

“It is not in dispute that the accused and complainant had a verbal altercation on the day in question and the accused called the complainant a stupid idiot.

“All the witnesses except the doctor have confirmed that the incident occurred.

“The evidence that is clearly standing out is that the accused pointed a finger at the complainant.

“The State has managed to prove that the accused uttered the words which the accused confirmed himself.

“All the witnesses are credible witnesses and the court has no reason to doubt their testimonies.

“The evidence of all the state witnesses cannot be said to be worthless as alleged by the accused.

“For these reasons I find the accused person guilty as charged,” she ruled.

During the trial, Aleshina said she was hospitalized after she developed stress-related health complications following the assault.