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Freedom at last for Dudu Manhenga

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JAILED Afro-jazz maestro Dudu Manhenga yesterday walked out of the prison walls after the High Court granted her relief to appeal against her 18-month jail term for culpable homicide.

CHARLES LAITON
SENIOR COURT REPORTER

The relief came after she had already served two weeks of her sentence.
High Court judge Justice Felistus Chatukuta released her on $200 bail and ordered her to surrender her passport and report once every week at Avondale Police Station in Harare.

The Bulawayo-born star contends that the prison term imposed on her by Harare magistrate Blessing Murwisi was “too harsh” and had not taken cognisance of the fact that she was a first offender.

Justice Chatukuta did not entertain any further submissions by either the State or Manhenga’s lawyer Isaiah Mureriwa, but simply granted the relief sought in terms of the draft order.

In his written submissions before the court, Mureriwa had indicated that Manhenga had prospects of success on her appeal and was not a flight risk.

“A simple and easy test to determine what the interest of administration of justice in each particular matter demands, is to take into account the attitude/position of the attorney-general (AG) as representative of the State to the release of the applicant on bail,” Mureriwa said.

“In the instant case the AG, having regard to the circumstances of this particular case, has chosen to support the release of the applicant on bail instead of opposing it.

“In the ultimate the decision is that of the court, a decision reached after weighing the personal interest of the accused against the interest of justice in the particular case.

“The court thus has to undertake a very delicate balancing exercise (and) of primary consideration in the balancing exercise is the prospect of success on appeal.”

The 33-year-old musician was on October 10 sentenced on her own plea of guilty for causing the death of motorcyclist Graham Martin Millward through negligent driving.

The court heard that Manhenga only had a provisional driver’s licence when she crashed into Millward’s motorcycle along Sherwood Drive in Harare’s Mabelreign suburb in 2010.

Millward suffered serious injuries which led to his death upon admission at the West End Hospital.

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