Court gives benefit of doubt to prosecutor Reza

Harare Magistrate Court

HARARE magistrate Letwin Rwodzi yesterday dismissed an application by property developer George Katsimberis seeking recusal of prosecutor Michael Reza in a case where he is accused of duping a fellow property developer of close to US$1 million.

Rwodzi dismissed Katsimberis’ application, saying Reza had done an excellent job in the case.

Katsimberis is accused of duping a property development company of close to US$1 million in a joint venture to build cluster houses in Harare’s Borrowdale suburb.

Through his lawyer Charles Warara, Katsimberis submitted that Reza had shown bias and interest in the matter.

He further alleged that Reza could influence his client’s conviction due to bias.

Reza accused Katsimberis of trying to lure him to his side, thereby disadvantaging the complainant.

Rwodzi ruled that mere possibility of bias was not sufficient to warrant the recusal of a prosecutor.

She further ruled that Reza did not have power to convict an accused person.

“A mere possibility of bias is not sufficient to warrant recusal. Reza does not have power to convict,” Rwodzi ruled.

“The conviction or discharge is the prerogative of the court. The ground on which the applicant is seeking his recusal is not strong. The prosecutor can be removed on grounds of bias and in this case he did not show any bias. I, therefore, find the application vexatious.”

After the dismissal of the application, Reza told the court that the defence had filed a request of further particulars.

Katsimberis has added Lewis Uriri to his defence team.

The matter was postponed to March 25 for trial.

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