Tuesday, October 14, 2014

South Africa: Update on Shrien Dewani Trial

According to http://www.ndtc.comone of the three men serving lengthy life sentences for the murder of newlywed Anni Dewani in Cape Town in 2010 has dismissed defense suggestions that the trio had planned to kidnap and ranson her from her Indian-origin British billionaire husband Shrien Dwani, now 38.

Dewani is standing trial in the Western Cape High Court and is accused of being the mastermind who hired the three men to kill his 28-year-old Swedish-born wife in a staged carjacking. 

Defense counsel suggested that there were plans to "sexually molest or rape" Anni before she was killed accidentally after her husband, Shrien Dewani, was freed unharmed during the hijacking.

But when questioned by Judge Jeanette Traverso about the kidnapping allegation, Qwabe, one of the three hitmen, said: "There was never anything about a ransom."

Shrien was in tears as his lawyers cross-examined Qwabe in great detail.

COMMENT: Dewani attorney François van Zyl suggested that the wounds caused by a single shot to Anni's neck were not normally seen in an execution-type killing and that bruises on her leg clearly showed that she had put up a struggle.

"(The shot) has all the hallmarks of a shot that went off that was not supposed to go off at the time," Van Zyl said, adding that the men knew that that Dewani was rich and that they could benefit if they kept his wife hostage.

Again, though, Qwabe dismissed this when prosecutor Adrian Mopp questioned him about their main objective on the night of the murder, describing the plan "to kill the wife." 

Qwabesaid they were promised 15,000 rand (US$1,300), but had found only 10,000 rand in a pouch in the vehicle, as the agreement had been that the fee agreed would be in the cubbyhole of the vehicle.

Van Zyl said Dewani would testify that his wife had 10,000 rand in her handbag.

Dewani lost a four-year legal battle to avoid being extradited to South Africa, and was sent to South Africa in April 2014 to stand trial.

He underwent psychiatric treatment and was deemed fit to found stand trial. 

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