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‘From Russia with Malice’: Biti seeks referral of assault case to ConCourt

By Staff Reporter | Nehanda Politics |

MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti has applied to have the case in which he is accused of assaulting a Russian woman in November last year be settled at the Constitutional Court.

Tatiana Aleshina and Tendai Biti after his arrest
Tatiana Aleshina and Tendai Biti after his arrest

Biti had applied for an exception to the case but the magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guvuriro dismissed it on Thursday.

Biti’s lawyer Alec Muchadehama argued that shouting was not an offence when he submitted his application for exception in the matter in which Simbarashe Kadye and Michael van Blerkm are also complainants.

State prosecutor Michael Reza, opposed the application, saying after the assault, the complainant, Tatiana Aleshina suffered physically and emotionally.

Muchuchuti-Guvuriro ruled that Biti had failed to say anything on the prejudice suffered by the complainant when she was insulted, adding that the State papers clearly showed that Biti committed an offence.

The magistrate also said that the argument on the facts will be cured by a trial in which Biti would go through. Reza insisted that the trial should start immediately since the application for exception had been dismissed, accusing Biti of delaying the trial.

Before Biti took to the witness stand to motivate his application for referral to ConCourt, his lawyer made another application for referral to ConCourt, saying the decision to stop his client from filing for review violated his constitutional right.

The matter was then postponed to October 13 for continuation.

Aleshina, one of the witnesses in a case involving building contractor George Katsimberis who is alleged to have defrauded a land developer, claims she was insulted and assaulted by Biti 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 extra judicial means to crush me or harm or destroy me for daring to be a witness in the criminal matter against his client,” she stated in her complaint.

Aggrieved at what he felt was a wrongful arrest and detention over the matter, in January 2021, Biti filed a Z$15 million counter-lawsuit against Aleshina – a Russian national with business interests in Zimbabwe – jointly with CID Law and Order officers, Detective Garauzive, Detective Chief Inspector Chibaya, and Constable Sydney Ndlovu.

“On or around November 30, 2020, the first defendant (Aleshina) made false, wrong and a malicious report to ZRP alleging that the plaintiff had assaulted her by uttering that ‘You Tatiana you are stupid, very stupid, stupid idiot.

“Notwithstanding the fact that the complaint, even if true (a point heavily contested) was trivial, frivolous and at most a criminal nuisance, the first defendant appointed second defendant as an IO in the matter.” Nehanda Radio