Johannesburg - Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye wants out of jail. Maarohanye appeared in court on Friday morning in handcuffs.
After nine months in prison, he and Themba Tshabalala - who last December with Maarohanye was sentenced to 25 years in prison for murder, attempted murder and other charges after a drug-fuelled race in April 2011 left four teenage pedestrians dead - wanted out.
They were granted leave to appeal their sentences in July.
On Friday morning, Maarohanye and Tshabalala argued that they should be released on bail pending the outcome of that appeal.
Lawyer Rudi Krause argued that there was “no reasonable prospect” that the Supreme Court of Appeal would uphold the murder conviction.
He cited the Humphreys case, where the SCA overturned the conviction of Western Cape taxi-driver Jacob Humphreys, who was originally found guilty of the murder of 10 children and the attempted murder of four others when he tried to cross a train track in his taxi on August 25, 2010, when it was hit by a train.
“The issue of the murder and attempted murder convictions have been cast in a completely new light by the SCA judgment,” said Krause.
“It is simply unsustainable in law. At best for the State and at worst for the applicant” the SCA would downgrade the conviction to culpable homicide, he explained.
“There is a reasonable prospect I may escape jail altogether given the time I’ve already served,” Krause read from Maarohanye’s affidavit.
“I am entitled to be released on bail prior to my pending appeal.”
He said the former gospel star had an unblemished record, but had contracted TB in jail.
But State prosecutor Ray Mathenjwa said the TB tests came back negative.
Maarohanye has asked to be released on R20 000 bail.
Tshabalala argued that his imprisonment was “bad for everyone that depends on me… it’s been punishment for my family”.
He said his business, now being run by his mother and a colleague, was struggling.
The State is yet to argue its case, but has indicated that it would oppose the bail application, saying the Humphreys case would not apply as there were no drugs or racing involved (in that case).
Before arguments began at the Protea Magistrate’s Court, Krause tried to have the application heard as a schedule one offence of culpable homicide and not the schedule six offence of murder.
Mathenjwa argued that until the murder conviction was overturned it still stood and the bail application should be heard on those grounds.
Magistrate Brian Nemavhidi agreed.