Shrien Dewani not mentally ill, fit to stand trial for wife’s murder

2014-08-15 10:24

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British businessperson Shrien Dewani has been found fit to stand trial for the murder of his wife Anni, according to a mental health report released in the Western Cape High Court today.

“The accused is not mentally ill. The accused is not certifiable in terms of the Mental Health Act,” Director of Public Prosecutions Rodney de Kock said.

Dewani’s lawyer Francois van Zyl said the mental health panel made a unanimous decision, including Professor Tuviah Zabow, who was appointed by the court as a psychiatrist for Dewani.

“We are in agreement. There is no objection,” Van Zyl said.

Dewani would go on trial on October 6. He would appear in court again on September 9 for a formal pretrial hearing.

Dewani appeared before Judge President John Hlophe, supported by his parents and siblings.

De Kock brought an application in June for Dewani’s mental health to be officially observed in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.

At the time, he said observation was necessary because the mental health report prepared by Valkenberg psychiatrist Dr Sean Baumann differed in its opinion to that of Zabow.

According to the indictment previously handed to the court he is charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice.

It is the state’s case that he acted in common purpose and conspired with Cape Town residents Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe, and Xolile Mngeni to kill his wife. The state alleges that Dewani was to pay the perpetrators.

Tongo, Qwabe, and Mngeni are already serving jail terms in connection with the murder.

Dewani has not yet been asked to plead.

He claimed he and his wife were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu in Cape Town in a taxi in November 2010.

The couple had been on honeymoon in the country. He was released unharmed, but his wife’s body was found in the abandoned car the next day. She had been shot.

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