Dewani: families meet again – in court

2010-12-14 14:25

Unshaven and pale in a purple hooded top, the man accused of

masterminding the murder of his young wife in South Africa looked dazed and

barely able to register the intense scrutiny he was under as he appeared in

Westminster Magistrate Court in London this week.


Shrien Dewani’s attendance in his extradition hearing on Wednesday

afternoon was the only glimpse of the British businessman this week since he

handed himself over to Bristol police on Tuesday night.


Dewani did not appear in the high court on Friday and was released

from Wandsworth prison after he was granted bail of £250 000.


Court 1 is a specialised extradition court where WikiLeaks founder

Julian Assange appeared only a day earlier – and the media scrum was nearly as

fierce for Dewani as for the high profile Assange case.


To the bemusement of the run-of-the-mill cases on Wednesday morning

journalists gathered in the passage hours before Dewani’s expected appearance,

determined not to give up a spot near the court doors.


Dewani’s family and legal team disappeared into an interview room,

thus missing the arrival of family members of his murdered wife Anni, who were

promptly kettled in by the media pack with dire warnings that they might not

find seats inside court.


It being England, however, everyone was soon whipped into line by a

short, balding and frighteningly efficient court usher.


First he allocated seats inside the court room to all “family

members of the deceased”, then guided the Dewani family to the public gallery.


Barely glancing at each other, both families appeared to be in

anguish as they listened to allegations that Shrien had plotted Anni’s murder.

The last time they had all been in the same room was at the lavish wedding

ceremony in Mumbai.


On Friday, Justice Duncan Ousley upheld the magistrate court’s

earlier decision, saying he had concluded that Dewani had a genuine and real

interest in making sure he clears his name.


Dewani, who had apparently been distressed by overcrowding in

prison, was eventually freed on Friday night and arrived back at his Bristol

family home in a BMW 4X4.


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