MDC-Alliance principal Tendai Biti’s application for the removal of prosecutor Michael Reza from being the lead prosecutor in a matter in which is facing charges of inciting violence was granted. Biti accused Reza of being politically biased.
Harare magistrate, Gloria Takundwa while granting the application indicated that Reza had fallen of the customary standards of fairness expected from a prosecutor.
“The prosecutor must be above any suspicion and as a minister of truth he has a special duty to see that the truth emerges in court,” she said.
She added: “Reza denies being impartial and he said he is and will be prosecuting the matter to the best of his ability the court did not find anything in particular to show his bias towards the accused in the affidavit as he was indeed responding to the accused however when Mr Reza was responding to this application for his refusal he responded saying he had responded in a political climate since accused had in his affidavit brought out political grounds.
“Under no circumstances in court 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 the constitution. The fact that Reza responded in a political climate shows that his behaviour has fallen far short of the customary standards of fairness and detachment demanded from him. His sentiments have instilled a reasonable belief of bias on his part. There is a real possibility of bias on his part if he continues to prosecute the accused.”
Biti who was also making an application for the release of his passport had that second application granted.