Popular music producers DJ Fantan and Levels of Chillspot Records and music promoter Dhama got some good news on Thursday after the High Court granted them bail pending appeal. The three were convicted of breaching Covid-19 regulations after they organised a New Year bash which was attended by thousands of people.
High Court judge Justice Davison Foroma who initially reserved judgement on their bail application case, freed the three on a bail of ZWL$10,000 each pending their appeal against sentence.
DJ Fantan, real name Arnold Kamudyariwa (33), and Levels, real name Tafadzwa Kadzimwe (31) together with Simbarashe “Dhama” Chanachimwe (27) were also ordered to report to their local police stations every two weeks and to continue residing at their given addresses until the matter is concluded.
DJ Fantan, Levels and Dhama were arrested in early January after they hosted a musical bash in Mbare on New Year’s Eve.
When the three appeared before Harare Magistrate Vongai Guwuriro, they did not dispute the allegations against them and readily pleaded guilty to the charge of ‘convening a public gathering during a national lockdown’ in contravention of Statutory Instrument 77 of 2020 of the COVID-19 regulations.
Following their guilty plea, Magistrate Guwuriro convicted the three on their own plea and sentenced them to 12 months in prison. Six months were suspended on condition of good behaviour, leaving the three music producers and promoters to serve an effective 6 months in prison.
The Magistrate said 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 they had committed.
DJ Fantan, Levels and Dhama were shocked by the severity of their sentence and instructed their lawyer to file an appeal at the High Court.