By Desmond Chingarande
Property developer George Katsimberis who is accused of fraud after he allegedly built a showroom in a cluster houses joint venture using an unapproved and fraudulent plan from City of Harare is seeking to approach the Constitutional Court saying his rights are being violated.
Katsimberis who appeared before magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro submitted several complaints and questions he wants the Apex court to determine.
The controversial property developer said the court had forced his trial when the court knew that he had not been furnished with further particulars requested.
He said the court also forced the resumption of his trial when his lawyer of choice Advocate Lewis Uriri was not available.
Katsimberis said upon requesting further particulars the prosecutor Michael Reza opposed saying him or the court cannot be forced to provide the documents.
“In his response, the prosecutor, did the unthinkable by uttering words to the effect that he would never be forced by anyone “young or old, big or small, male or female, tall or short” to respond to the request for further particulars and neither will he send his prosecutors whilst the defence counsel were sitting in their offices,” Katsimberis submitted.
He said he felt intimidated by the prosecutor’s utterances which gave him the impression that he would not prosecute fairly.
“My fears were confirmed when the application was dismissed on the basis that the court was functus officio since the previous magistrate had ruled on the matter,” he submitted.
He also submitted that the court forced him to proceed to trial when he had asked for a Greek interpreter.
In responding to the application Reza said the trial of the matter failed to start because Katsimberis demanded too many documents that are not relevant.
“Trial could not commence on that day because they demanded many other documents they called “further particulars”. Despite the prosecutors not seeing any relevance of these so-called further particulars, they provided them anyway,” Reza submitted.
Reza said several magistrates had recused themselves from the matter because of the atmosphere created by Katsimberis’ defence team.
He further said another magistrate Letween Rwodzi postponed Katsimberis matter on a record 25 times before trial.
“In between these dates the matter failed to kick off because the defence made it impossible for trial to commence. They would either be demanding these papers or the recusal of the new prosecutor or the magistrate or one of the lawyers would be unavailable or the lawyer Tendai Biti renouncing agency,” Reza submitted.
“It is also important to note that the accused has the following lawyers on record; Mr Charles. Warara, Mr. Tawanda Kanengoni, Adv Lewis Uriri and Mr. Shingi Mutumbwa, who is listed as “Watching brief”. On one occasion the defence made an application for postponement because one of the lawyers was not available but the others were querying on why the absence of one lawyer would necessitate a postponement, the explanation given was that each of the lawyers has a special assignment.”
“I refused to be bullied and abused by the defence when they insisted that either I or one of my subordinates must go to the High court and Supreme Court and get them certain transcripts which they named. My argument as it still is, is that nothing stops the defence from collecting the transcripts themselves since they are the ones who want to use them,” Reza said.
Reza said it was his duty to make sure all criminals tried and the matter completed within a reasonable time.
On using his Greek language Reza said Katsimberis had been attending these courts since 2020 but he never asked for an interpreter saying it only serves the purpose of delaying trial.
“The accused person Is merely seeking to avoid trial at all cost as is evident from the various frivolous applications for postponement that he has made,”Reza said.
He said the court must not grant this application.