Movement for Democratic Change vice-chairman Tendai Biti yesterday got his way when he successfully applied for prosecutor Michael Reza, to be removed from his case because he argued Reza was biased.
Biti is facing charges of inciting violence following the 1 August demonstrations and violence in which six people were killed.
He argued through is lawyers that Reza was biased because he responded to his affidavit in a tone which showed that he was furthering the interests of a certain political party.
Magistrate Gloria Takundwa concurred with Biti and ordered Reza to recuse himself.
“When Mr Reza was responding to the accused’s application for his recusal, he responded saying that he had responded to Biti’s affidavit in a political climate since accused had also brought out a political tone,” Takundwa said.
“Under no circumstances should a prosecutor at any stage assume a political tone or respond in a political tone. The prosecutor must at every stage remain non-partisan as required in terms of section 261(2) (a) of the constitution.
“The fact that Mr Reza responded in a political tone or climate shows that his behaviour has fallen far short of the customary standards of fairness and detachment as demanded from him. His sentiments instilled a belief or reasonable apprehension of biasness on his part.
“There is a real possibility of bias on the part of Mr Reza if he continues prosecuting the accused. If Mr Reza maintains the position as lead prosecutor, he may well not act towards the accused with the fairness and impartiality that the administration of criminal justice demands. The application, therefore, for removal of Mr Reza as the lead prosecutor be and is hereby granted.”
Tafadzwanashe Mupariwa has taken over the prosecution and the trial kicks off on 3 December.