Dewani wasn’t looking for a date on Gaydar – lawyer

2014-10-13 18:39

British businessman Shrien Dewani’s logging onto a gay dating website in 2010 did not necessarily mean he was looking for a date.

“The fact that he was signed on Gaydar does not mean he was looking for a date. He could be checking or sending messages,” his lawyer Francois van Zyl told the website’s former digital product manager Simon Johnson in the Western Cape High Court today.

He was cross-examining Johnson, who was called as the State’s third witness to testify on Dewani’s online profile ‘ASIANSUBGUY’.

His evidence-in-chief detailed a number of logins onto the site between November 12 2010 and November 16 2010.

Dewani is accused of masterminding his wife Anni’s murder during their honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010. He has pleaded not guilty to the five counts against him, maintaining that the couple were the victims of a hijacking in Gugulethu, Cape Town, on November 13 2010.

Her slumped body was found in the back of the taxi the following day.

Johnson said he could not see from his records what Dewani had been doing while logged on.

“Apart from the gayness of the website, it is almost like Facebook?” asked Van Zyl.

Johnson disagreed, saying Facebook was a social network and far more public.

Van Zyl said that CCTV footage of the Cape Grace hotel, where the couple were staying, would show that Dewani had been busy during the login period for November 16 2010.

Between 6.55pm and just before 8pm, when the login was active, Dewani was receiving and making telephone calls and could be seen in the hotel reception.

There was also footage of him entering the lounge around 7.25pm and sitting next to his father-in-law, Vinod Hindocha.

Johnson said it was quite possible that the computer was left open with the connection active, even though the user was not at the screen.

During his evidence-in-chief, Johnson said Dewani ticked “single gay man” and “gay” for his profile and “no” for the section asking whether the individual had disclosed their sexuality publicly.

Dewani’s profile indicated he was looking for a single gay man, a single bi man, a gay couple or a group.

Dewani joined the website in August 2004 and the last activity on his profile was on November 21 2010.

“On that day the profile was removed by the customer,” said Johnson.

Van Zyl said he would lead evidence if necessary to show that his client’s sister, Preyal, had removed the profile using his username and password.

“It was done at that stage because the media was looking for anything on the accused and the family decided to remove it,” he said.

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