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Relief for Mahendere

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Gun-toting gospel musician Amos Mahendere, who was recently convicted of assault and pointing a firearm at a commuter omnibus driver, was yesterday granted leave not to perform community service pending a ruling by the High Court.

Chitungwiza magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa granted Mahendere — who was slapped with 210 hours community service — the reprieve.

“It is indeed correct that by the time the application will be heard, if he (Mahendere) does community service, it will only be for academic purpose and indeed he will not be compensated by the State,” Mugwagwa said.

“The court should strike a balance to safeguard the interests of justice and protect the liberty of the accused. I agree with the defence counsel that there will not be any prejudice to the State if the sentence is suspended until such a time the appeal is heard.”

However, if Mahendere’s appeal at the High Court is dismissed, he will perform 210 hours of community service.

On Monday, Mahendere’s lawyer Nickel Mushangwe told the court that the judgement made by Mugwagwa was too harsh considering the nature of the offence and the evidence used by the court which he described as not overwhelming to convict his client.

“I want this honourable court to suspend the sentence of community service since it could not be compensated given the appeal at the High Court goes in Mahendere’s favour,” Mushangwe said in his submissions.

Mahendere (36) was jointly convicted with Washington Tapfumaneyi (27) and Moses Chonse (26) last week and were ordered to pay a $100 fine each for the assault charge.

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