Dorning killer’s jail time reduced

2011-05-26 00:00

HIGH court judges of appeal have reduced the sentence imposed on one of the killers of former KwaZulu-Natal government spokesperson Warwick Dorning (55) from life to 20 years’ imprisonment.

Acting Judge President in KwaZulu-Natal, Judge Chiman Patel, with two other judges concurring, said in a reserved judgment handed down yesterday that Mlungisi Hadebe (21) is young and the state had conceded that his chance of rehabilitation is greater than that of his older co-perpetrator, Welcome Madlala (34).

Patel said Madlala’s appeal against sentence could not succeed because he was a prior offender and his age counted against his rehabilitation. The full bench therefore confirmed the term of life imprisonment imposed on him.

However, the judge said Hadebe had not been previously convicted and it was clear from the record of the proceedings that he was “extremely co-operative” with the police during the investigation into Dorning’s murder and robbery.

These facts were sufficient to establish substantial and compelling grounds to justify a departure from the prescribed sentence of life imprisonment the full bench ruled.

Madlala and Hadebe pleaded guilty at their trial before acting Judge Ben van Heerden and assessors on December 11, 2009, to the murder of Dorning and robbery with aggravating circumstances of his wife, Dawn and mother, Denise Dorning (88) at Adam Hurst farm at Mpophomeni, Howick, on November 7, 2009.

They expressed remorse and said they were prepared to take responsibility for their actions.

They admitted having formed a common purpose with their companion, Sphamandla Madlala, who was said to be the gunman who shot Dorning in the face, and who was later killed in a shootout with police.

The attackers stole a television decoder, a DVD recorder, two cellphones, bags, spectacles and shoes.

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