High Court says ‘Billboard’ saga to go for trial

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HIGH Court

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The High Court of Harare has dismissed an application for review  by two businessmen who erected an illegal billboard in Borrowdale tarnishing  the image of a development company.

Grant Russell and Mark Strathen who are represented by Tendai Biti had filed an application for exception at the Magistrates Court saying the charges were defective.

But Magistrate Shane Kubonera dismissed the application saying the duo must stand trial to answer the charges.

They appealed the ruling at the High Court.

However, Justice Bachi Muzawazi also dismissed their application.

“However, as a general rule courts are reluctant to interfere with the un-terminated proceedings of a lower court unless there is a gross miscarriage of justice. In essence, incomplete criminal proceedings are prone to intervention by the Upper Courts in isolated but deserving circumstances,” Justice Mzawazi ruled.

“Whilst superior courts play an oversight role over the subordinates courts and judicial bodies by ensuring the necessary checks and balances as earlier stated, to safeguard the interests of justice, they can only interfere with interlocutory proceedings of the lower courts if continuation will result in irreversible gross miscarriage of justice.”

According to the court documents, Russell is a director of Fairclot Investments while Strathen is the director of Paragon Printing and Packaging Services Company.

Russell and Strathen are the applicants alongside their companies.

They cited magistrate Kubonera and the State prosecutor Shambidzeni Fungura as respondents.

The duo had challenged that the contents of their billboard did not constitute an offence. They further said they argued that the contents of the billboard did not interfere with the ordinary comfort, convenience, peace or quiet of the public or any section of the public thereof.