Biti challenges court's jurisdiction

HARARE - MDC deputy national chairperson Tendai Biti yesterday challenged the court’s jurisdiction to prosecute him, arguing that he was unlawfully brought into the country following his arrest in Zambia.

Biti is facing two counts of violating the Electoral Act by making unofficial or false declaration of the 2018 election results. He pleaded not guilty to both charges.

In his defence outline, Biti argued that prosecuting him will be in violation of regional and continental laws regarding the extradition of persons facing offences of a political nature.

“The accused will challenge the court’s jurisdiction to hear his case on the basis that he was unlawfully brought back into Zimbabwe from Zambia in violation of the deportation and asylum laws of Zambia, and of an order of court issued by the High Court of Zambia sitting in Lusaka, in breach of International law (Regional and Continental) with regards the extradition of persons facing offences of a political nature,” he said.

He added: “In addition to all these violations, the State further breached the internationally recognised principle of non-refoulement which is part of Zimbabwe law in terms of provisions of section 326 of the Constitution which makes international customary law a part of the law in Zimbabwe.”

Biti also argued that the purported charges put to him do not disclose an offence.

According to State papers, Biti is alleged to have said: “we have now received from our agents across the country results of the 2018 elections.”

“Section 66 A subsections (3) and (4) make it very clear that the public is entitled to report on votes as long as such report is based on polling station and constituency returns.”

“The quotes in both counts make it clear that what was said by Biti was based on results received from agents across the country, a clear indication that the report was based on polling station and constituency returns.

“As such conduct is permitted by the Electoral Act, the allegations clearly do not disclose an offence,” Biti said through his lawyers.

He also challenged the splitting of the charge, arguing that there is only one penalty provision and the second count should be struck out.

“The accused has been served with a charge sheet that has two different counts which are exactly the same and it’s unclear whether this was a deliberate improper splitting of sheer incompetence on the part of the State.”

Biti was represented by Beatrice Mtetwa, Alec Muchadehama and Doug Coltart.

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Comments (3)

Biti is a legal stalwart. Your half baked state prosecutors will be stewed in court. Biti doesn't take prisoners.

Chikowore - 11 December 2018


Tau - 12 December 2018

Kkkkk all the way to an acquittal...

Tau - 12 December 2018

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