Dudu Manhenga pleads guilty
SONGSTRESS Dudu Manhenga openly wept outside court after pleading guilty to causing the death of a motorcylist she knocked down in Mabelreign three years ago. Duduzile Tracy Manhenga (29) was facing culpable homicide and driving without a licence charges when she appeared before magistrate Ms Blessing Murwizi. She will be sentenced today.
Manhenga had since her arrest three years ago been denying the charge, prompting the court to refer the matter for trial.
But yesterday she applied for the amendment of the charges before she tendered her plea, which the prosecution did not oppose.
The court allowed the request and the prosecution made the changes, which led Manhenga to admit to culpable homicide and that of driving without supervision since she had a learner’s driver’s licence.
She told the court that at the time of the accident she was a holder of a learner’s driver’s licence.
Manhenga, who was legally represented, pleaded for the court’s lenience stating that she is an artiste and mother of four realising about US$500 per month.
In considering the appropriate sentence, Manhenga urged the court to take into account the fact that she has no previous convictions.
She said she did not see the now deceased until he was very close.
“The deceased was also not wearing a head gear as required by the law, as a result he suffered head injuries which could have been avoided,” she said.
She added that she drove without supervision on the fateful day after she got confused with news she had received that a close associate had died and had to visit the family to pay her condolences.
Manhenga told the court that for the past three years she has gone through rehabilitation to make herself a better and useful citizen.
“When the accident happened, I made arrangements to take him to the hospital. I also rendered significant assistance in funeral arrangements,” she said. In aggravation, prosecutor Ms Barbra Ndoro told the court that Manhenga turned right in front of oncoming traffic, in contravention of road regulations.
“Her actions cannot be mitigated by the fact that the now deceased was not wearing a helmet.
“The offence is aggravated by the fact that she was driving without supervision. Making her pay a fine will make people lose trust in the justice delivery system,” she said.
Proven facts are that on March 15, 2010 around 14.15 Manhenga was driving a Toyota Spacio registration number ABF 5454 along Sherwood Drive.
Manhenga was driving along the northern direction of the road while the now deceased Graham Martin Millward was on his motorcycle heading south.
Manhenga turned right into number 14, a house in Mabelreign, knocking down the now deceased.