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Borrowdale illegal billboard erectors' court application dismissed

The suspects, Grant Russel of Fairclot Investments and Mark Strathen of Paragon Printing, are facing criminal nuisance charges.

Two Borrowdale men who erected an illegal billboard denouncing a property developing company have had their court application for removal from remand dismissed by  Harare magistrate Evelyn Mashavakure.

The suspects, Grant Russel of Fairclot Investments and Mark Strathen of Paragon Printing, are facing criminal nuisance charges.

The duo had applied for refusal of further remand through their lawyer Tendai Biti saying their Supreme Court appeal stood a better chance of success.

They are also challenging a High Court order to proceed to trial after an unsuccessful attempt to have the charges quashed.

Magistrate Mashavakure dismissed their application for removal from remand saying there was no justification for the application.

"There is nothing before the court showing the progress of the matter at the Supreme Court," Mashavakure said while dismissing the application.

She advised the accused persons to follow up on the application with the Registrar of the Supreme Court for an update on the matter.

"Follow up with the registrar on the application because we cannot stop the proceedings. You need to provide something from the registrar to show you have been following up on the matter," she said.

Public prosecutor Shambadzeni Fungura advised the court that the State was ready to commence trial on March 17.

"There is no stay, nothing is stopping this trial from proceeding. We are ready for the trial and we propose 17 March for trial," Fungura said.

Biti, however, said the trial should be postponed to March 28 as he needs time to approach the Constitutional Court over the alleged violation of his clients' rights.

But the magistrate postponed the matter to March 14.

It is the State’s case that on December 10, 2020 at around 2pm on the opposite side of Celebration Church in Borrowdale, Harare, the accused persons erected a billboard with damaging information on WestProperties in a bid to tarnish its image.

It was alleged that Russell and Strathen caused false alarm to the complainant's clients through the information written on the billboard.

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