Murder Trial May be Scrapped
The judge presiding over the murder trial of British businessman Shrien Dewani will be presented with an argument by Dewani’s defence that the case should be dismissed.
Judge Jeanette Traverso said she wanted to be certain there was “conspiracy” to kill the 28-year-old Anni Dewani before she proceeded with the case.
If this is not the case, 34-year-old accused Dewani could be on his way home to Bristol within a few days. This was after spending six months in a secure psychiatric facility in Cape Town before standing trial.
Taxi driver Zola Tongo became a trial witness and accused Shrien Dewani of his wife’s murder, saying he had offered 15,000 rand – less than £1,000 at the 2010 exchange rate – for his wife to be killed. Both he and another hitman, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, gave evidence in Dewani’s trial in return for reduced sentences.
Barrister Francois Van Zyl opened his argument for his client’s prosecution to be abandoned, stating Zola Tongo’s claims were the “pillar” on which the entire case sat, since he was the only person who had direct contact with Mr Dewani.
“If it falls, there’s no evidence,” said Mr Van Zyl. He added there were “huge improbabilities” in Tongo’s evidence.
He said that the judge would have to believe that Dewani arrived in Cape Town and quizzed his taxi driver about finding a hitman half an hour later, and that none of the conspirators established how they would be paid before the killing was carried out.
The case continues