Convicted entertainers and Chillspot Records frontman DJ Fantan and Levels yesterday had their High Court appeal against sentence rolled over to tomorrow.
DJ Fantan born Arnold Kamudyariwa and DJ Levels real name Tafadzwa Kadzimwe were earlier this year jailed six months by Harare magistrate Vongai Guwuriro.
The duo alongside music promoter Simbarashe ‘Dhama’ Chanachimwe were convicted for hosting an illegal crossover New Year’s gig during the lockdown period.
Magistrate Guwuriro had ruled that the trio had committed a serious offence.
“Although the trio has shown remorse by pleading guilty, they committed a serious offence when they hosted the party during the 10pm to 6am lockdown curfew, hence a fine or community service sentence would trivialise the offence,” reads part of magistrate Guwuriro’s ruling.
The gig was held at an open air area near Mbare’s Matapi Flats.
According to the trio’s lawyer, Dumisani Mtombeni the matter was postponed to this Wednesday.
“The matter has been postponed to Wednesday. DJ Fantan and Levels’ appeal will be joined with that of music promoter Dhama so that we argue both cases at one go,” said Mtombeni.
The trio are out on a $10 000 bail each pending the current High Court appeal before Judge Justice Davison Foroma.
Mtombeni feels the trio have prospects of success arguing that his clients had no intention of hosting such a big event, but had targeted to live-stream the event.
Fantan, DJ Levels and Dhama were ordered to continue residing at their Mbare residences and to report once every fortnight at Matapi Police Station.
Six months of their sentence was set aside on condition of good behaviour.
Popular music producers DJ Fantan and Levelz of Chillspot Records have been sentenced to 12 months in prison for hosting a musical bash in Mbare on New Year’s Eve. The two will spend 6 months in prison after the court suspended 6 months from their sentence.
DJ Fantan, real name Arnold Kamudyariwa (33), and Levelz, real name Tafadzwa Kadzimwe (31) together with Simbarashe “Dhama” Chanachimwe (27) were found guilty of ‘convening a public gathering during a national lockdown’ in contravention of Statutory Instrument 77 of 2020 of the COVID-19 regulations for hosting the musical bash.
When the three appeared before Harare Magistrate Vongai Guwuriro, they did not dispute the allegations and readily pleaded guilty to the charge. The court then convicted them on their own plea.
In passing sentence, Magistrate Guwuriro said that she had taken into account that the three had not wasted the court’s time by pleading guilty to the charges.
Despite this, she sentenced DJ Fantan, Levels and Dhama to 12 months in prison. The prosecutor Michael Reza had asked for the court to impose a custodial sentence of one year in jail as well as a fine of $400,000 (approximately US$5 000 using the official exchange rate).
However, The magistrate suspended 6 months on condition of good behaviour leaving the trio to serve an effective six months in prison. Guwuriro went on to say that she could not commute the remaining 6 months to community service because Chief Justice Luke Malaba had issued an order suspending community service for the next 30 days due to the Covid-19 national lockdown.
The magistrate also said that she could not fine the three in lieu of a custodial sentence as this would trivialise the crime the three had committed.
DJ Fantan handed himself over to the police after ZRP national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi announced that the police had launched a manhunt for him. This was after the police arrested 52 people for taking part in and organising a Passa Passa on 31 December 2020, which was attended by thousands of youths in Mbare.
Levels was arrested when he brought lunch to his colleague, DJ Fantan at the police cells.