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Biti arrest warrant cancelled, ‘magistrate was not available for trial’

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Courts |

The warrant of arrest that was issued against opposition MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti for failing to appear in court for trial has been cancelled.

Main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) vice president and legislator Tendai Biti
Main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) vice president and legislator Tendai Biti

On Monday, a Harare magistrate, Chido Garwe, issued a warrant of arrest against the former Finance Minister accusing him of failing to appear for trial in the case he is accused of assaulting a Russian national Tatiana Aleshina outside the Harare Magistrates Court.

Speaking to Nehanda Radio, Biti’s lawyer Alec Muchadehama said his client was there at court before 9 am but he found the presiding magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro unavailable meaning that the matter was going to be remanded.

He added that at half past nine, that is when he realized that his client’s record was in court nine and that is when he found that magistrate Garwe had already issued him with a warrant of arrest.

Muchadehama said the magistrate Stanford Mambanje later on accepted Biti’s application for cancelation of the warrant of arrest.

“The magistrate accepted Mr Tendai Biti’s explanation that he was there at court at half past eight and that he was not in court at nine because he was expecting to appear before a magistrate in court 15 for purposes of remanding a matter on behalf of Mrs Muchuchuti-Guwuriro. So the warrant of arrest was cancelled,” Muchadehama said.

Allegations are that, on November 30 last year as she was about to leave the court gallery after a court session, Biti allegedly threatened to harm Aleshina.

Aleshina said Biti insulted and assaulted her outside the courtroom but within the complex premises.

“It was clear to all people who were in the court gallery that Mr Biti took delight not only in verbally abusing me but in trying to intimidate me and felt that, as a woman and foreigner of Russian origin, he would use every extrajudicial means to crush me or harm or destroy me for daring to be a witness in the criminal matter against his client,” Aleshina said in her complaint. Nehanda Radio