This morning we are at Mbare Magistrates Court where Arnold Kamudyariwa, popularly known as DJ Fantan, who was allegedly on the run, Chillspot Records co-founder, Levels aka Tafadzwa Kadzimwe, and Tinashe Chanachimwe popularly known as Dhama are appearing facing charges of undermining a government directive banning New Year’s Eve celebration gatherings.
The trio allegedly threw a musical bash at Mbare’s Matapi flats on the day, defying Covid-19 restrictions.
The case has been referred to Harare Magistrates Court for further management
The trio sitting in a pickup under police escort at Mbare Magistrates Court.
Arnold Kamudyariwa, popularly known as DJ Fantan, who was allegedly on the run, Chillspot Records co-founder, Levels aka Tafadzwa Kadzimwe, and Tinashe Chanachimwe popularly known as Dhama while at Mbare Magistrates Court.
We are currently at Harare Magistrates Court waiting for proceedings to start.
Magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti Guwuriro enters the court for proceedings to start. The State is being led by Michael Reza being assisted by Teddy Kamuriwo while Tafadzwa Hungwe and Dumisani Mthombeni are representing the trio.
They being charged for partaking and convening a public gathering during a national lockdown in contravention of section 5(3)(a) of Statutory Instrument 77 of 2020.
Reza applies for them to be placed on remand and the defence has no objections.
All three plead guilty after the charge was read out to them
Court resumes and Mthombeni submits that they are young offenders
Youthfulness connotes immaturity and susceptibility to other factors such as peer pressure
They are extremely remorseful and have offered their most sincere apologies to the police and nation at large. They are also extending the apology to the court.
They assisted the police in dispersing the crowd in the process convincing those who resisted to leave the venue.
No violence was reported at the venue and all 52 who attended the event have since paid level three fines of Z$500. Even the 200 from Westgate who were arrested paid the same fine.
It would be dangerous for the court to sentence them differently from how other offenders were treated
Court should assist the offender’s by not breaking them but give them a sentence that will help rehabilitate them
It would be unjust to expose them to a custodial sentence even for two days.
Justice must not be done but seen to be done. The court must be wondering why they are appearing while other offenders paid fines.
They are comfortable with doing community service at Matapi police station if the court finds such a sentence suitable.
This is a case in point where the court ought not to swayed by social media but to remain guided by legal principles in sentencing.
Mthombeni ends submissions and the State led by Michael Reza makes submissions in aggravation. The three circulated a banner on social media headed Thursday 31 December 6pm to 6am. They overlooked the curfew and invited over 22 artists to perform.
The gig was dubbed “Super Covid Spreader”.
They were organisers and this is the reason why they are in court
The lockdown is not something unique in Zimbabwe. Every country in the world is on different stages of lockdown. While the people with rightful senses are in government’s lane, there are others advocating for the spread of the virus.
Mbare is a death trap where people are likely to contract the disease without fault as they are unable to fumigate the area due to their income levels.
The defence knows what to do when it wants the court to be bound by a previous case. Before the court there is no evidence of anyone who paid fines on the same related charge.
The court will be adjudicating its mandate if it fails to deal with offenders who intentionally created an environment likely to spread the virus.
It must adopt the principle the justice of fire, anyone who touches fire will be burnt. A message must be sent to all like minded people that you do not risk people’s lives in this manner. The offender’s should be burnt.
A custodial sentence and a fine of $400 000 should be arrived at. Their intention to become ambassadors is a little too late.
What they did is akin to attempted murder, the seriousness of their offence must be reflected in the sentence
Finng them or sentencing them to perform community service would trivialise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Reza rests his case by ending submissions
Magistrate Guwuriro adjourns court for sentencing at 3pm