"The matter is provisionally postponed to Wednesday," said Judge Chinembiri Bhunu after the trial started in the morning with submissions from the state and defence attorneys.

Bhunu is set to rule on an application by the state for the defence’s submission to be struck on grounds that it was not properly presented, and whether a key state witness should be allowed to testify.

Bennett, a former white farmer who is the treasurer of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is accused of scheming to topple veteran President Robert Mugabe three years ago.

Bhunu is also expected to make a ruling on a defence application that Peter Hitschmann – who the state claims implicated Bennett in the terrorism and weapons charges three ago – should not testify.

Similar charges against other MDC officials have already been thrown out of court, and Bennett’s latest arrest last month prompted Tsvangirai to stage a three-week boycott of the unity government, underscoring tensions in the power-sharing arrangement.

Bennett was accompanied his wife in court on Monday. He is currently out on bail and faces a possible death sentence if convicted.