DJ Fantan, gig organiser escape jail
Organisers of the infamous Mbare New Year’s Eve gig — DJ Fantan, Dammar and DJ Levelz — have escaped jail after the High Court allowed their appeal challenging the six-month jail term imposed on them for defying the Covid-19 pandemic national lockdown.
The trio was jailed for an effective six months for violating Covid-19 regulations own their own pleas of guilt to the offence before a Harare magistrate Mrs Vongai Guwuriro early this year.
Dissatisfied with the sentence which they described as outrageous in the circumstances, and represented by lawyer Mr Dumisani Mthombeni, they approached the High Court on appeal arguing the sentence was excessive and induced a sense of shock.
Two judges of the High Court Justices Pisirayi Kwenda and Benjamin Chikowero, sitting as an Appeals Court, quashed the jail term and substituted it with three months’ imprisonment with an option of $2 000 fine.
In addition, the three months’ imprisonment was wholly suspended on condition they do not commit a similar offence.
The State had conceded that the sentence was severe. Trio were arrested for hosting a New Year’s Eve gig in Mbare, in defiance of Covid-19 regulations.
Mrs Guwuriro had initially jailed the trio to 12 months each before setting aside six months for three years on condition they do not commit a similar offence within that period. Dammah, born Simbarashe Chanachimwe, Arnold Kamudyariwa (DJ Fantan) and Tafadzwa Kadzimwe (DJ Levelz), had pleaded guilty to the charge.
According to the State, Dammar, DJ Fantan and DJ Levelz, had invited 22 artistes to perform at the event dubbed Super Covid Spreader held at Dammah’s shop, against the Government measures to curb the spread of the lethal virus.