Dewani footage ‘could compromise trial’

2012-03-26 13:23

Publishing CCTV footage of British honeymooner Shrien Dewani and the taxi driver now jailed for his wife Anni’s murder could compromise his trial, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has said.

“[The] Trial has not even started. We are awaiting judgment on Dewani’s extradition and therefore the documentary will amount to trial by media,” NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said after The Star published stills from a documentary produced by the BBC Panorama programme.

Dewani, from the United Kingdom, has been implicated in the murder of his wife while they were on honeymoon in December 2010.

He told the media afterwards that they were hijacked as they entered Khayelitsha with their shuttle bus driver Zola Tonga.

He was pushed out of the car, but his wife was later found dead.

He returned to the UK, but the NPA has subsequently applied for his extradition back to South Africa as the fourth accused in the case.

In The Star report, which credits Britain’s Daily Mail, cameras show Tongo walking through the Cape Grace hotel’s front entrance empty-handed.

Dewani then walks towards the internet room carrying a plastic bag, closely followed by Tongo.

Tongo emerges again after a minute with a bag shaped object under his shirt, he goes into the toilets, then leaves again openly carrying the bag.

It was reportedly recorded three days after Anni Dewani’s murder.

“It has the unfortunate potential of influencing the subsequent trial and may compromise [the] investigation process and prosecution,” Mhaga said of the pictures.

“We don’t even know how they got hold of it.”

Judgment is still due on Dewani’s appeal in the UK against an order for his extradition to South Africa.

The other two people believed to be implicated in the murder are Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni.

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