Judge Dismisses Case Against British Businessman
A judge in South Africa has thrown out the case against British Businessman Shrien Dewani, who was accused of arranging the murder of his wife Anni during their honeymoon in 2010.
Judge Jeanette Traverso dismissed the case after she said “the evidence presented by the prosecution fell far below the threshold of what a reasonable court could convict on.”
She went on to say that the “evidence of the prosecution’s main witness, taxi driver Zola Tongo, was riddled with contradictions and highly debatable.”
Announcing her ruling, the judge said: “The accused is found not guilty of this charge.” He will now be released.
She said the only reason not to grant the application would be in the hope that Dewani would implicate himself if he gave evidence. But to do so would be a “manifest misdirection”
Mr Dewani listened closely as key evidence against him was criticised by the judge as she gave her ruling, after a three hour proceedings.
Mr Dewani, 34, went straight down to the cells to prepare for his release, following the decision, as his family embraced.
Mrs Dewani’s family, who had said it would be a “nightmare” if the trial did not continue, immediately left the court room. They bowed their heads amid shouting from the public gallery.
In a statement read outside the Western Cape High Court, the Hindocha family said: “We feel really, really sad because we have not heard the full story. Shrien lived a double life.”
Mrs Dewani’s brother, Anish Hindocha, had last week pleaded with Mr Dewani to “tell the world what happened the night she died.”
But the judge ruled it was not necessary for him to give evidence, saying “a defendant was entitled to be discharged if there was no possibility of conviction unless he entered the witness box and incriminated himself.”
The judge said the evidence from the three criminals already convicted over Mrs Dewani’s murder was “so improbable, with so many mistakes, lies and inconsistencies you cannot see where the lies ended and the truth begins”.
Dewani, 34, has always denied plotting with others to murder his bride, who was found shot dead in the back of their taxi whilst on a tour around the country.
Prosecutors said bisexual Mr Dewani had long planned to get out of the marriage to Swedish-raised Anni, and arranged the attack in which he would escape unharmed and Anni would be killed.