Ex-minister Biti fined US$300

In sentencing Biti, Guwuriro said the court considered that he is a diabetic patient and a former minister.

FORMER Finance minister Tendai Biti was yesterday fined US$300 for assaulting a local businesswoman, Tatiana Aleshina.

Magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti Guwuriro also slapped him with a six month wholly suspended sentence.

In sentencing Biti, Guwuriro said the court considered that he is a diabetic patient and a former minister.

“This conviction is not the first by accused, he knows very well how to conduct himself in court as a legal practitioner. The society also demands more in his behaviour. The protection of the society relies on him as a former legislator,” the Magistrate ruled.

“A custodial sentence would be too harsh and also a community service should be reserved for serious offenders. No lawyer enjoys to be in the dock and he unsuccessfully tried to do an out of court settlement.”

In mitigation, Biti apologised to the woman.

“The accused is genuinely sorry about the incident. He could have apologised earlier but was afraid of interfering with a case that was already before the court,” he submitted.

“What happened is unlikely to occur again. Accused has no appetite to engage in that conduct again. He knows what will happen if this sorry case happens again.”

“The accused had no intention to harm the complainant, he is genuinely sorry, the matter was blown out of proportion.

“There was no physical assault, accused is not a violent person and what happened is likely not to happen again.”

Biti said he is a father of five and three of his children are in university abroad.

He also said he takes care of his elderly mother and supports orphans and widows in his former constituency.

However, the State represented by Tafara Chirambira said despite personal circumstances other factors should be considered including previous convictions.

Chirambira said everyone is equal before the court.

“The complainant deserves equal protection. She has not all that flowery background. She is not a lawyer. She has not spoken before a global forum. Before this court, is an accused convicted of assault. So, the court should be guided by the law.”

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