The Pokugara Properties Pvt LTD land trial involving land developer George Katsimberis and Kenneth Raydon Sharpe failed to kickstart on the 8th of December 2020 with Magistrate Loice Mukunyadzi pointing out the State’s remissness on timeously serving the defence with requested letters.
The trial date was pushed to the 11th of January 2021. Prominent Lawyer, Mr Tendai Biti bemoaned the presence of Tatiana Aleshina and Michael Van Blerk in the same office with the Prosecutors office for a prolonged time.
“Defence is not doing justice with the court, with regards to the letters. They were never sent to me or my offices located in Milton Park and the Prosecutor is the servant of the court, he/she must comply with the Court ethics. Mr Zinyandu, the Prosecutor never phoned me, instead he sent a WhatsApp message, I don’t like WhatsApp neither am I a WhatsApp person. I have thousands of unattended messages if you want to check my phone. He knows where I operate from and where the Accused person resides. He should have served those papers.
“What is WhatsApp in official court business? He should have used official means, the conduct was unprofessional and not impeccable. He has let down not just the court but the profession as a whole.
“My lady, my learned friend (Prosecutor, Chogumaira), just disappeared for 2 hours and held up in the office Tatiana Aleshina, Michael Van Blerk and Simbarashe Kadye. I think it’s not proper. Tatiana is not part of the case nor a witness so the question is why are you associating with her? The Deed of Settlement that you have just given to me signed by Tatiana proves that Tatiana Aleshina is a Land baron,” Mr Biti said.
Magistrate Mukunyadzi ordered State Prosecution to do what is right.
“Serve the Defense the papers well, you did not do the correct way of doing things. The state should avail the papers to the accused. Do we all agree with that? and the State shall provide the following documents before the Court, The Deed of Settlement dated 28th May 2019, The letter from City of Harare dated 31st of May 2019 to Chinawa law chambers, Letter from City of Harare dated 26th of June 2019, Letter from Chinawa law chambers dated 12th June 2019 and the Letter from Chinawa law chambers dated 14th June 2019.”
According to the Evidence and Procedure’s Act, an accused person must be furnished with court papers three days before the trial kicks off. However, the State, represented by Ms Audry Chogumaira, tried but failed to convince the court to proceed with the trial. They reportedly failed to uphold ethics and the code of conduct.
Chogumaira attributed the negligence upon unavailability of fuel.
Magistrate Mukunyadzi asked;
“Prosecutor, how do you normally do your daily work when you say State doesn’t have fuel for messengers to deliver Court summons to defense?”
Magistrate Mukunyadzi told the State to bring the needed Court papers so that they can proceed with State hearing.
After a nearly six hours upon leaving the Court room drama allegedly ensued as Tatiana Aleshina confronted Mr Biti over his submissions in the court Chambers with regards to interfering with the Court proceedings, considering that she is not a State witness .
“Hey you, if you continue to mention my name in the Court room and doing what you are doing, I am going to report you to Mr Sharpe,” charged an angry Aleshina.
More than twelve people reportedly outside the Court room witnessed the exchange of words between Aleshina and Biti. Later on the day Aleshina took to Twitter to complain about the altercation. She then proceeded to file a police report. Mr Biti surrendered to Harare Central Police Station where he was detained.
Katsimberis is accused of furnishing Simbarashe Kadye, a representative of Pokugara Properties in Borrowdale with unapproved building plans between 15 June 2016 and 26 July 2018, an allegation that he denies.
Katsimberis who is represented by Tendai Biti had a botched agreement with the complainant Kenneth Raydon Sharpe with Katsimberis who providing finances for the development of the project.